Resolution indpendence

Eirik Byrkjeflot Anonsen eirik at
Mon Jun 30 05:44:19 PDT 2008

Glynn Clements <glynn at> writes:

> And I wouldn't use anti-aliasing. The visual system relies upon edge
> detection, and blurring the edges reduces legibility. The place for
> anti-aliased text is if you are viewing the page as "artwork" (rather
> than trying to read it), where accurately representing the balance
> between ink and paper is more important.

While I pretty much agree with your sentiments throughout this mail, I
do not completely agree with this.  While edges are very important for
recognition of shapes, there is the problem of "aliasing".  When the
edges are placed so that you misrecognize the shape, they are not very

The advantage of "bitmap" fonts is that they are designed to be
recognized at their chosen size.  You may say that they are
"pre-anti-aliased".  The anti-aliasing employed here is not by using
gray tones to approximate som "true" b&w figure (which is what most
people think of when they say "anti-aliasing").  Rather, it is by
carefully choosing the displayed representation to maximize
recognizability (Which is really what "anti-aliasing" is about).

> If you want *usable* resolution independence, it isn't going to be
> obtained by an absolutist belief that physical units are the alpha and
> omega. Nor will it be obtained by assuming that text can be considered
> in isolation from other UI elements.

"resolution independence" is a myth (unless you have very high
resolution).  Dealing correctly with varying resolutions would have
been very nice, though.  (But, as you say, very hard).


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