Wed, 25 Jun 2003

Fixing Safari's Minimum Font Size

Yuck.Aha! Dave Hyatt explained the Safari 1.0 font situation the other day. Basically, two major things changed between the betas and 1.0. First, the default font was set to be 16-point Times. This matches the default for Internet Explorer for Windows, which is presumably the browser most sites are tested against. Unfortunately, in my opinion (and I'm not alone), 16-point type looks freaking huge on a small monitor. After setting my default font setting to something sane (in my case, Lucida Grande at 14 points), I found that CSS specified xx-small type (found, for example, in my Shoutbox), became an unreadable pile of poo. The enforcement of a minimum font size (9 points) specified in the prerelease versions of Safari was removed in 1.0 final. The reason for this is revealed in the Dave Hyatt's blog entry -- that many sites use small font size spans as spacers. That sounds like a really unreliable way to position layout elements, but I'm no professional designer.Ah.

The Safari dev team threw us a bone, however. Mr. Hyatt mentioned that it was still possible to set a minimum font size via a hidden pref. Hidden pref, your ass is mine.

defaults write WebKitMinimumFontSize 9
defaults write WebKitMinimumFixedFontSize 9

(you need to enter those two lines in the Terminal.)

:: 22:17
:: /tech/computers/os/osx/applications/safari | [+]
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The Magic Word:
The two elements in water are hydrogen and ______

Delores breezed along the surface of her life like a flat stone forever
skipping along smooth water, rippling reality sporadically but oblivious
to it consistently, until she finally lost momentum, sank, and due to an
overdose of flouride as a child which caused her to suffer from chronic
apathy, doomed herself to lie forever on the floor of her life as useless
as an appendix and as lonely as a five-hundred pound barbell in a
steroid-free fitness center.
— Winning sentence, 1990 Bulwer-Lytton bad fiction contest.