2007-12-28 12:46

Thinking in 800x480: Web browsing

I am still anxiously waiting for my Asus eee (still a week to go or so), and I was thinking about web browsing in the 7", 800x480 screen.

Yes, you can do the usual things, go to full screen mode, whatever, but for many sites, 800 pixels is just too narrow.

You can make pages fit better in a limited width by reducing the font size. A good 8pt font is probably readable on that screen, since you will be pretty close to the screen.

However, that does nothing for layouts that are pixel-based, and for the size of images.

However, after reading about Qt 4.4's support for webkit and widgets in QGraphicsView, I started thinking... that's doing it wrong.

What you want in limited screen space is text in the usual size and the page in a smaller size.

So, my idea is:

  • Make the font larger. Say, 12pt.
  • Render the page in a webkit widget that's 1200x720 pixels.
  • Put the widget in a QGraphicsScene, and reduce it 33%.

The result? a 800x480 web page view that contains the whole page.

Of course you should be able to change all these parameters with a single control. Is the page too wide to see in 800x480 with 8pt fonts?

Then try 1000x600 with 10pt fonts, and reduce it to fit the screen.

Still too wide? Then try 1200x720 and a 33% reduction.

Possible tips:

  • Should work better with aliased fonts, since the size reduction should make antialiased fonts too blurry. A wide, open font will look better,
  • The scrollbars will look squashed, I expect. Probably checkboxes and radio buttons will look funky. Here, more advanced wizardry is needed.

Of course it would have to be tested, but I am willing to bet this will work better than other alternatives. If I had a working PyQt 4.4 I would try to do it myself ;-)


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