06 July 2004

I've just applied a few minor tweaks to the blawg's template intended to make things a little bit easier for FireFox users. After some fairly deep delving into the source code, I've discovered that FireFox's CSS system operates in an acceptable, but not-typographically standard, method: When one specified a font size in ems, but not a line height, FireFox defaults to a line height of 1.0em, leaving a slightly cramped look. Typographical standards require at least 10% leading for running text, and slightly more for serif fonts. Thus, I explicitly specified the line-height as 1.1em and reset the template.

The real problem with this is not FireFox. It did exactly what it's allowed to do. On the other hand, so does Internet Explorer (which silently adds slightly less than 0.1em of leading whenever the line-height parameter is not explicit in the style definition or a parent). The problem is with the CSS specification, which should be explicit on this. Because it is not, we've got slightly incompatible behavior from two reasonable interpretations of the specification. In programmers' terms, the FireFox interpretation is more "natural"; in typographers' terms—which is the context of this particular element—the IE interpretation is more "natural."