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Re: CSS 4.1 proposal: text-transform:continental

From: Tantek Çelik <tantek@cs.stanford.edu>
Date: Tue, 01 Apr 2003 19:45:37 -0800
To: Chris Lilley <chris@w3.org>
CC: <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BAAF9C74.238D6%tantek@cs.stanford.edu>

On 4/1/03 4:20 PM, "Chris Lilley" <chris@w3.org> wrote:

> On Wednesday, April 2, 2003, 12:43:23 AM, Tantek wrote:
> TÇ> Thus I propose:
> TÇ>  property: text-transform
> TÇ> new value: continental
> TÇ> 'continental'
> TÇ>     Replaces some characters of each word with letterform variants or
> TÇ> equivalents with decorative accents.
> Sorry, this is hopelessly underspecified and does not give the degree
> of artistic control or typographic virtuosity that content creators
> demand.

It is deliberately underspecified to encourage user agent authors to come up
with as high a quality of implementation as possible, higher than what we
may think to specify a priori.  We should encourage innovation as well as

> For example, there is a clear need for another value that *only*
> translates the letters o and O to ö and Ö respectively, while leaving
> other vowels alone. I suggest, as a crude and hard-coded alternative
> to ensure early standardization, the value 'metal' in addition to
> 'continental'. We should agree on this quickly to avoid needless
> thrashing on the list.
> For full generality, the property should take functional notation with
> a comma-separated list of (base character, replacement character)
> pairs and in addition, the content property should also be moved to
> the left hand side, as a selector, so that the desired styling can be
> applied to arbitrary runs of text regardless of their correspondence to
> the overly limiting boundaries established by elements.
> As an authoring convenience, the declaration 'auto' is the same as
> 'metal' with an implicit content substring selector of 'Blue Oyster
> Cult|Motorhead'.

While theoretically interesting, the example of _proper_nouns_ (as opposed
to common prose text) with apparently stylistic accents over some of the
letters is solved much more appropriately through the actual use of such
characters, rather than a purely stylistic text-transform.

The reason is that for proper nouns (such as the names of some rock/metal
bands) while the use of such letters may have been conceived from a
stylistic or branding perspective, once such a name is created, the accented
letters are wholly part of the name, rather than a stylistic device that is
applied as an optional afterthought.

Hence, the examples given should really be always written as:
 Blue Öyster Cult

Additional similar examples:
 Hüsker Dü
 Mötley Crüe

Unfortunately, due to widespread ASCII7-centrism in today's legacy computer
systems, such proper names (and many others', including the names of some
people on this list) are often incorrectly pruned of their accents.  Since
this practice is common (though undesirable), it could be argued that there
should be an 'ascii7' value for the 'text-transform' property to represent
this (dys)functionality, and it should be immediately obsoleted in order to
discourage any additional implementations.

Thanks for your feedback on the proposal,

Received on Tuesday, 1 April 2003 22:44:54 UTC

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