Re: Seriffed and sans-serif fonts?

lee@sq.com
Sat, 22 Apr 1995 22:45:58 -0400


Date: Sat, 22 Apr 1995 22:45:58 -0400
From: lee@sq.com
Message-Id: <9504230245.AA18844@sqrex.sq.com>
To: bbos@staff.cs.su.oz.au, www-html@www10.w3.org
Subject: Re: Seriffed and sans-serif fonts?

Brooke Smith <bbos@staff.cs.su.oz.au> wrote:

> With this talk of liking to have certain fonts, might it be good to
> have customisable browsers, where the user can provide certain tags
> to indicate that the enclosed text is to be drawn with font X1, where
> they can define X1 to be font:sanserif size 12pt.  The author can
> specify the intended font/s by passing that information in the
> 'html resource header' (idea defined especially for this purpose).

This is what HTML 3 style sheets do/will do, to some extent.

However, the current draft for style sheets doesn't really deal with
fonts very extensively.  I think this isn't surprising, as they're much
more complex than appears at first sight.

Most style sheet systems get as far as saying things like
    <style element="meta">
	<Content>
	    <font-family "Kabel">
	    <font-face "Regular">
	    <font-size "-1" relative="parent">
	</Content>
	<Paragraph break="inline">
	    <left-margin "12" units=pixels>
	</Paragraph>
    </style>

with some arbitrary syntax.

Some SGML browsers (e.g. EBT DynaText, SoftQuad Panorama) support font
mapping, although this (unfortunately) often has to be done by the end user.

An extra level of indirection might be helpful:

    <fontdef name="sans-serif">
	<family "Kabel">
	    <alias name="Geometric231BT" vendor="Bitstream">
	    <face-list>
		<Map><Menu-item>Roman</><Face>Regular</></Map>
		<Map><Menu-item>Italic</><Face>Oblique</></Map>
	    </face-list>
	</family>
	<family "Ariel"></family>
	<family "LucidaSansTypewriter"></family>
    </fontdef>

might define how to handle a face "sans-serif" in terms of 3 other
families:
    use Kabel (e.g. ITC Kabel) first, if available; this might also
    be available as Geometric231BT from Bitstream (sigh).

    if Kabel isn't available, use Ariel or, third try,
    LucidaSansTypewriter.

This example doesn't specify anything about the font encoding vector and
consequent character set, or about kerning & tracking & optical alignment.

If you look at Quark style sheets, or the Freehand/Virtuoso Inspector,
you'll see all sorts of gubbins in there.  A lot of is more important for
higher resolution devices (such as paper...) than a 150dpi workstation screen,
let alone a 72dpi mac screen. (I know they vary...)

If higher screen resolutions become common, as I believe they must, more
powerful typography will be needed in screen software.
Didn't the Seybold report last year say that Xerox Parc was prototyping a
nearly 300dpi LCD screen?

Lee