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Saturday, 12 July 2003

Jack Schofield vs. John Gruber

As if the great Mark/Dave dramedy [there's this Metafilter thread and 120+ comments on Don Park's blog] wasn't enough to be keeping up with, Jack Schofield's taken a pop at John Gruber's Daring Fireball after Neil McIntosh pointed to Gruber's latest article in what has to be one of the longest entries ever on The Guardian's Onlineblog.

Jack's main problem with Daring Fireball is its design, and while I'm ambivalent on the subject of reversed-out text (I admit it, like Jack I am a spectacle wearer, yet for me the text is fine. The fact that I'm probably half Jack's age may have something to do with it), there's just a teensy weensy problem with his accusations of unresizeable text.

Judging from John's CSS, he's using absolute measurements to specify font sizes with the result that Internet Explorer 6 on Windows will happily fall over when attempting to resize text: well, not fall over. More like not do anything at all, which is pretty much the same as falling over when you're a bespectacled human being who's frustrated at reversed out text. Jack's example of the paragon of website design, Jakob's useit.com, uses relative measurements in CSS.

Absolute sized text in CSS doesn't present a problem, however, for practically any other browser that isn't Internet Explorer, or doesn't use its engine. Phoenix 0.5 (and thus any other Mozilla derivative)? Fine. Apple's Safari? Fine. For crying out loud, I even downloaded and installed Opera on Windows and checked Daring Fireball with it. Resizable text ahoy.

Of course, Jack's rebuttal will be that he shouldn't have to change browsers, and he's partially correct, regardless of the fact that he's happy to recommend Mozilla for popup blocking. There's not much to stop John, either, from updating his CSS to use relative font sizes, and Internet Explorer will happily resize text specified that way.

There's one last thing Jack could've done. I've found that if there's anything that will improve legibility on any platform, it usually involves printing the damn thing out and reading it on nice paper. High resolution, very portable and you can even edit it easily.

Update 13 July, 11am: Fixed the first paragraph so it actually links to Schofield's article.

47 comments and trackbacks

Jack's post reads like a troll. I can't see John Gruber taking it seriously, especially the bit about useit.com.

Posted by: Matt Jones on July 12, 2003 11:30 PM

Well, I'm definitely not one of Jack's fans and gave at least a few seconds thought to linking to his piece in the first place. He doesn't need the attention, in my opinion. Not that this is helping.

That said, there'd be nothing wrong with John altering his CSS, but as far as I'm concerned, I couldn't care less--it's perfectly readable to me.

Posted by: Dan Hon on July 12, 2003 11:32 PM

2lmc spool Jul 13, 2003 9:43 AM
Schofield vs Gruber
Read more in 2003/07/13 10:37 »

Matt - I know you're not a fan of Jack, but this isn't a troll. Why wouldn't Gruber take comments on design seriously?

Posted by: Neil Mc on July 13, 2003 11:14 AM

Submit Response Jul 13, 2003 3:30 PM
Dan Hon reports on the latest squabble, this time between Jack Schofield of Onlineblog and John Gruber of Daring Fireball.Normally...
Read more in Schofield vs. Gruber »

Neil: I'm sure John Gruber takes comments on the design of his site seriously, just not ones that are as patronising in tone as Jack's critique. In fact, as a web developer, I would find statements like:

'This is fundamentally bad design and shows a marked failure to understand the way the Web works'

and

'I'd expect a Web-savvy schoolchild to have figured out a much more user-friendly design'

to be deeply insulting as well as completely over-the-top in relation to the site, which IMO, is well designed.

Posted by: Matt on July 13, 2003 10:55 PM

Technovia Jul 14, 2003 11:06 AM
Dan Hon has some comments about Jack Schofield's piece on why Daring Fireball sucks, design-wise. Jack is completely correct that
Read more in Jack Schofield vs. John Gruber »

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