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Re: Why <FONT FACE> is bad for i18n

From: Chris Lilley <Chris.Lilley@sophia.inria.fr>
Date: Wed, 5 Feb 1997 15:05:49 +0100 (MET)
Message-Id: <9702051505.ZM12498@grommit.inria.fr>
To: Francois Yergeau <yergeau@alis.com>, www-international@w3.org
On Feb 4,  4:04pm, Francois Yergeau wrote:

> I wrote up a little page explaining why the <FONT> tag with FACE
> attribute is not a good idea for i18n (apart from its other
> problems).  Take a look at:
>  http://babel.alis.com:8080/web_ml/html/fontface.html

This is excellent, well argued and presented. It expands very nicely
on the point I made more briefly at the Sevilla symposium and in
subsequent talks.

If I do have a criticism, it is that the document ends on a slightly
sour note:

     If you think you are doing some language community a service
     by making up fonts and using them to publish on the Web,
     please think again.

Yes, I think these people do think they are doing a service. For example
I came across a site that used font face and a free font to produce
Devanagari documents. Gross. But since everyone else who produced such
documents seemed to be using PostScript, it was an improvement of sorts.
Such people need to be led gently to the next step.

Also, there is nothing wrong, per se, with using fonts on the Web to
produce multilingual content; indeed, it is to be encouraged, if done

While the penultimate paragraph does link to better ways to acheive
that end, I feel that a couple of sentences added to the end of the
fontface document would provide a more upbeat and enthusing presentation.

Such as:

     If you think you are doing some language community a service
     by making up fonts and using them as described above to publish
     on the Web, please think again. Consider instead keeping your
     bytes, characters and glyphs as separate things:

     - use an appropriate charset for your document, such as UTF-8
     - make sure that numeric character references refer to the
       Unicode code points
     - use stylesheets to apply your free fonts to the appropriate
       characters automatically.

Chris Lilley, W3C                          [ http://www.w3.org/ ]
Graphics and Fonts Guy            The World Wide Web Consortium
http://www.w3.org/people/chris/              INRIA,  Projet W3C
chris@w3.org                       2004 Rt des Lucioles / BP 93
+33 (0)4 93 65 79 87       06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France
Received on Wednesday, 5 February 1997 09:06:22 UTC

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