W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > March 2010

Re: [css3-fonts] font-specific feature handling

From: John Daggett <jdaggett@mozilla.com>
Date: Thu, 18 Mar 2010 22:30:32 -0700 (PDT)
To: www-style@w3.org
Message-ID: <1331337918.24569.1268976632017.JavaMail.root@cm-mail03.mozilla.org>

fantasai wrote:

>> I think we're all accustomed to dealing with font stacks and fallback
>> issues but with downloadable fonts, that's really an old paradigm.  In
>> a world where web fonts are ubiquitous, an author specifies the font
>> they want and doesn't worry so much about fallback.  I don't think we
>> should make authoring more difficult in this situation for the sake of
>> fallback problems that are theoretically possible but generally don't
>> occur in practice.
> 
> You may consider the problem unimportant, but there are several WG
> members that disagree.

I'm not saying this problem is "unimportant", I'm simply asking those
who think this is a problem to explain more clearly the scenarios where
this actually occurs or could occur *and* is bad enough that it justifies
a general restriction on property use.

My assertion is that this is relatively rare and the result doesn't
justify a general restriction.  Providing a mechanism to allow authors
to work around possible problems is great, your 'alt-set' proposal
sounds interesting, but I don't think authors should be restricted to
only using these.

Make simple things easy and difficult things possible. ;)

In fact, this is a general problem with font fallback, authors generally
design with a specific set of font families in mind and adjust other
font and text properties using *that* set of fonts.  Change the
underlying set of fonts and the other size, weight and style settings no
longer necessarily match.  The 'font-size-adjust' property is one
attempt to tackle this problem for Latin text.  If an author specifies
italic headings, should italics apply when the heading includes Arabic
text or anything other script for which the notion of italic doesn't
exist?  When a Japanese font is used in conjunction with a Latin font,
the size of the Japanese font generally needs to be larger for readibliity
reasons.  It would be nice to be able to specify per-font scaling. 
Weight also varies, the medium face in one font family may closely match
the regular face within another family.

>> In general, it's really, really hard to construct an example where
>> fallback occurs and anything other than the default glyphs are used.
>> Most platform fonts lack alternate variants.
> 
> And will that be true 5 years from now? Microsoft has taken to
> shipping some pretty high-quality fonts with its Windows and Office
> products. And IIRC Apple ships with fonts that show off its APIs, too.
> Chances are that trend will continue. Even Ubuntu is looking into
> acquiring better fonts.

Yes, both Microsoft and Apple ship high-quality fonts but fonts with
lots of stylesets and swashes are relatively rare and the variations are
relatively subtle.  Gabriola is the only Windows 7 font that I found
that has variations that are dramatically different than the default
glyphs.  Hence my assertion that it's relatively hard to construct an
example that warrants a general restriction.

Cheers,

John
Received on Friday, 19 March 2010 05:31:10 GMT

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