the tricky part is that in order to read the offset stuff I have to change the DOM.
basically I need to get the coordinates of single characters on the screen. the only way that I found to do this is adding a random tag (<span>) next to the character and get its offset properties instead. the when I'm done I remove the tag, and go on to the next character.
could you do something like:
1. get the closest parent's offsets
2. create a hidden, position absolute container- a div, probably
3. append a clone of the parent
4.do your span trick offstage, as it were, so the page won't be frantically redrawing.
Return an array of character[x,y] items, with the parent's offsets added.
But you have to really want to know the positions-
and in that case, why not just put every position-significant character in a permanent span?