W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > May 2006

Re: Downloadable fonts and image replacement

From: Steve Zilles <szilles@adobe.com>
Date: Mon, 01 May 2006 09:48:52 -0700
Message-Id: <>
To: Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@opera.com>
Cc: www-style@w3.org, www-html@w3.org, www-font@w3.org
At 07:02 AM 5/1/2006, Håkon Wium Lie wrote:
>I think the priciple of specification independence, as far as
>possible, is important. There are several reasons:
>  - it makes specifications simpler to implement; simplicity is good

I do not think that this is true unless you intend that an implementor 
implement no font (or image) format. Having one or a small number of agreed 
formats to implement would be simpler than having to guess what formats 
might be needed.

>  - it makes specifications more reusable; you can reuse a
>    specification in new contexts without dragging along a bunch of
>    other specs

If you express the requirement to implement one or a small number of 
formats as a minimum, then implementors can add other formats as they 
become important (either to the public as a whole or to that implementor). 
Having a minimum means that developers have something they can depend upon 
and not having to prepare and list a long list of fallbacks because the 
implementations differ on what is implemented.

>  - it makes specifications prove their worth in the market. I believe
>    in specificational Darwinsim. If a specification can't survivive on
>    its own, perhaps it shouldn't. PNG proved its own worth, and so did
>    TrueType. However, if we accept the idea that one specification can
>    require support for another, it might tempting to rescue a
>    failing format by requiring support for it.

I agree that market acceptance is an important factor to be considered. I 
might even argue that one should not develop standards (Recommendations) 
where there is not some kind of market agreement on what is needed. But, I 
do not think that standardizing on accepted formats means trying to rescue 
a failing format. Standardizing on accepted formats means making it simpler 
for designers to produce web pages with interesting content and design and 
have them work across a range of User Agents.

Standards are aimed at benefiting both providers and users of the 
tools/User Agents that implement the standards. Standardizing on subsidiary 
standards simplifies the life of both the providers and the users. Would 
you argue that having a minumum character encoding standard of UTF-8 and 
Unicode was a bad idea and that we should have allow as many character 
encodings as people might create? As the discussion on this topic points 
out, many of the problems we have today are there because the initial 
support for Unicode was inadequate.

Steve Zilles
115 Lansberry Court,
Los Gatos, CA 95032-4710
Received on Monday, 1 May 2006 16:49:29 UTC

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