[whatwg] Media queries, viewport dimensions, srcset and picture

Matthew Wilcox mail at matthewwilcox.com
Thu May 24 02:13:33 PDT 2012

On 24 May 2012 09:45, Markus Ernst <derernst at gmx.ch> wrote:
> Am 24.05.2012 10:27 schrieb Matthew Wilcox:
>> Excellent, sorry I was not clear on that; this is looking good!
>> I would like to re-iterate that this solution is another which puts
>> design properties into mark-up directly, and just like old<picture>
>> and srcset, this means that when it's time to re-design a site an
>> author is going to have to trawl through all<picture>  elements
>> throughout the site to adjust them to fit the new design.
>> This is to my mind a major problem which stops any such solution from
>> being a general-purpose solution. I'd be ok for one-off special uses,
>> but I can't write website's that I know to be future un-friendly -
>> that's just storing up problems for the future.
> This is true only for the art-direction use case, as MQs are removed from
> the optimization use case.

Yep, I can see that's the case :)

> Unless a new proposal comes up that solves this issue, too, I think this is
> something we can live with, for two reasons:
> - The art direction use case is somehow at the edge between content and
> design. Serving a cropped version of an image is actually dealing with
> content, even if it is about the design situation.

I agree, the problem is that... it's still a problem. It's not always
a cropped version, it's sometimes a different image entirely - but we
can only sense the viewport rather than the space into which an image
is sitting. Because we can only sense the viewport we are actually
hooking into the design itself rather than being able to automate
things based on "how much room is there for this image?". However it's
cut, future maintenance is going to be a problem.

> - New designs usually require other image dimensions, meaning that images
> have to be recreated anyway.

That's true, but the problem isn't so much that as it is that there
will be different breakpoints. It's unlikely we'd be working with the
same breakpoints, so the one's in the mark-up are all wrong. Leading
to incorrect image selection. It's not trivial to revisit all mark-up
to correct this.

> In my practice I have seen several redesigns of
> websites; none of them was restricted to CSS, in all cases, the whole
> websites were rebuilt, or at least the content was entirely reviewed.

This always happens at the agency where I work too, but we also tend
to keep an awful lot of the existing content even if we re-shuffle the
organisation. There's a lot of existing content that will be re-used
in new designs, and as before: while it's easy to change overall
template aspects like div structure, it's an entirely different matter
to go editing detailed *parts* of content like embedded images.

> (My experience is very much focused on corporate situations, so this may be
> different in other fields such as academic.)

We do academic, corporate, personal, all sorts. We almost always end
up keeping content (but it's nice on the occasions where we dont!)

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