Agitprop

Note: this is a ghost site, not being maintained. It reflects some of my Web activity between 1996 and 1999. I keep it up for Historical Interest the convenience of those who continue to cite it, though I no longer uphold many of the technical opinions expressed here, and other things are broken.


So here we are, whether we like it or not, in the realm of necessity. And yet which of us has ever heard talk of art as other than a realm of freedom? This sort of heresy is uniformly widespread because it is imagined that art is outside the bounds of ordinary activity. Well, in art as in everything else, one can build only upon a resisting foundation: whatever constantly gives way to pressure, constantly renders movement impossible.

My freedom thus consists in my moving about within the narrow frame that I have assigned myself for each one of my undertakings.

I shall go even further: my freedom will be so much the greater and more meaningful the more narrowly I limit my field of action and the more I surround myself with obstacles. Whatever diminishes constraint, diminishes strength....the arbitrariness of the constraint serves only to obtain precision of execution.

"It is evident," writes Baudelaire, "that rhetorics and prosodies are not arbitrarily invented tyrranies, but a collection of rules demanded by the very organization of the spiritual being, and never have prosodies and rhetorics kept originality from fully manifesting itself. The contrary, that is to say, that they have aided the flowering of originality, would be infinitely more true."

Igor Stravinsky - Poetics of Music


Agitprop is an experimental space at Metrius (formerly Verso), featuring items of interest to Web developers, particularly with regard to typographical design support. Comments to Todd Fahrner.

All about text styling on the Web
Toward a standard font size interval system
Discusses how the 7 HTML font sizes should (and don't) relate to the 7 CSS font size keywords. This isn't really finished, but that hasn't stopped me from publicizing in other fora. Features pretty tables, or so I'm told. More academic than my "Beyond the FONT tag" article, below.
Beyond the FONT tag: Practical HTML text styling
Unlike the usual utopic stuff on Agitprop, this one's got production-grade advice. Less academic than my "Toward a standard font size interval system" article, above.
Why Points Suck
A thousand-word GIF essay and a dump of ill-edited correspondence on units of measure for Web design.
The Amazing Em Unit
A trivial demonstration of the value of CSS's em unit, as well as HTML 4.0's OBJECT element. Requires a modern browser to see the point. View source to see what's happening.
The Box Acid Test
A "tough but fair" composite test of the CSS-1 box model as applied to HTML 4. At this writing, no released browser passes it.
Notes toward an optimal CSS UI
Proposes, discusses a user-interface feature set for CSS browsers. And other things.
The Core Style Project
A W3C Style Activity developed by Verso, the project proposes a modular architecture for Web stylesheets, providing style authors with high-quality models and bases for their own elaboration. See the Development Interface.
The Base Stylesheet
Developed for the W3C CSS-2 Specification as an informative reference, this is a CSS1 model of the "consensus default" stylesheet for all HTML 4.0 elements in Mosaic-derivative Web browsers (Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer).
An intranet?
A "stunt" mock-up of an intranet using strict nonpresentational HTML and CSS1. Stylesheet is randomized: reload to see variants.
Dithering: Good, Bad, and Ugly
Worth a look if you process images for the Web. Free Photoshop plug-ins and scripts for DeBabelizer.
Font-adjust: A CSS-enhancement proposal
Original proposal for a means to enable "font-independent typography" for the Web. Now part of CSS-2, with a few improvements.
How to
...set up a personal stylesheet UI in Internet Explorer 4.01 (or later) for Macintosh
Some problems with CSS implementations
An early look at what has since become a huge problem. Documentation and (out of date?) workaround suggestions for a sad, sad story.
Made with Cascading Style Sheets