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Re: Why upgrade to Unicode: FAQ follow-up: CSS generic font families

From: Chris Lilley <chris@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 14 Apr 2005 02:52:55 +0200
Message-ID: <148374388.20050414025255@w3.org>
To: Andrew Cunningham <andrewc@vicnet.net.au>
Cc: Deborah Cawkwell <deborah.cawkwell@bbc.co.uk>, public-i18n-geo@w3.org

On Thursday, April 14, 2005, 1:52:05 AM, Andrew wrote:

AC> Deborah Cawkwell wrote:
>> 'Generic font family' is the correct term according to the current CSS (2) spec.

AC> There are certain assumptions made wrt to "Generic font family".

AC> One is that users actually do change the preferences/options in their
AC> web browsers to select preferred fonts. Mozilla/firefox allows you to
AC> specify diferent fonts for different generic styles.

Yes, its assumed that some browsers alow this to be configured. That
other browsers do not allow it to be easily/at all configured does not
invalidate the concept.

AC> IE only allows you to specify a proportional font and a monospaced font,
AC> so no idea how a user can control what font is selected when a generic
AC> font family is specified.

AC> It also assumes that the languages in use a supported by common fonts on
AC> the OS.

Yes and no. Its hard from a simple setting to set different preferences
for different languages (it is possible in a user stylesheet, although
by language not by script). Also, recall that the generic font families
are not the  end of the chain - just the end of expressed preferences. A
browser can, and should, attempt to display a character that is not
displayable using a specified or generic font by using any other font it
knows about.

AC> For those languages that are only supported by a small number of 
AC> specific fonts (and are unsopported by common fonts supporting that 
AC> script), then there is little value in specifying a generic font family.

Well, if its the users preferred language then they would presumably set
one of those fonts as their default.

AC> Just my 2 cents worth.

>> "Generic font families are a fallback mechanism, a means of
>> preserving some of the style sheet author's intent in the worst case
>> when none of the specified fonts can be selected. For optimum
>> typographic control, particular named fonts should be used in style
>> sheets. [...]"
>> http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-CSS2/fonts.html#generic-font-families
>> There are 5: serif, sans-serif, cursive, fantasy, monospace.
>> http://www.bbc.co.uk/
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 Chris Lilley                    mailto:chris@w3.org
 Chair, W3C SVG Working Group
 W3C Graphics Activity Lead
Received on Thursday, 14 April 2005 00:52:57 UTC

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