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

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

From: Richard Fink <rfink@readableweb.com>
Date: Sat, 20 Mar 2010 10:26:40 -0400
To: "'Christopher Slye'" <cslye@adobe.com>, "'www-style'" <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <002901cac839$5c1d5e00$14581a00$@com>
Friday, March 19, 2010 4:45 PM <cslye@adobe.com>:

>but the web is (IMO) still about delivery of information, and
>I think users deserve to get it, even if the designer doesn't
>like the way it looks.

The concern about the wrong contextual alternates being applied to the next
font down the line in the font stack is about a concern that the *wrong*
information would or could be delivered if extra controls aren't enforced.

My point in mentioning a javascript solution was that authors already have
the "no font, no text" option. It just isn't as convenient and easy as a CSS
property that achieves the same thing. There *are* already ways to measure
if the font has loaded and defeat the display of text if it hasn't. Maybe
it's time to think outside the box and provide that option in CSS. Just
thinking out loud. Maybe a keyword of "none". Perhaps local() could do
double-duty for this and specifying local(none) would trigger "no fallback".
I don't know how difficult this would be for implementers.

The offhand comment "Data URI's anyone?" was intended to remind that there
is a way to inextricably tie the font to the HTML document ("embedding" it
as a base64 Data URI) so that both font and message are gotten with the same
http request. For those authors extremely concerned about their font
loading, that's one way to go. If the font doesn't load, the page almost
certainly has not loaded, either. Data URIs are currently not supported in
some UA's - for example, IE - but that's the kind of thing I assume the WG
will be working on. Or at least talking about.

Today, we accept the "no font/no information" scenario with Flash on the
iPhone or text-as-images that may fail to load for one reason or another. I
don't recall anybody raising alarms about this. If it fails, it fails. No
technological support, no information.
What I'm saying is that if the concern is justified, no information may be
better than misinformation.

If display technology and network bandwidth were at the level it is today
when the web began, I think it's quite possible that the whole idea of a
"font stack" would never even have occurred to anybody. Where is the need?
I think that's what Daggett meant by a shift in paradigm.

If standards evolve to the point where a consistent set of local fonts are
mandated as part of the installation of the UA, it would be different story.
But we are a long way from that for a bunch of reasons.

Regards,

Rich



-----Original Message-----
From: www-style-request@w3.org [mailto:www-style-request@w3.org] On Behalf
Of Christopher Slye
Sent: Friday, March 19, 2010 4:45 PM
To: www-style
Subject: Re: [css3-fonts] font-specific feature handling

On Mar 19, 2010, at 12:32 PM, Richard Fink wrote:

> I'd rather see blank space than have the UA "fill in" the
> glyphs with another font that only confuses me as I try to design and
> debug.)

[...]

> Restricting authors in an attempt to save them from their own mistakes
> doesn't make sense - and if fallback to a keyword font family could be
> turned off, the chance of an unintended consequence could be reduced to
> nothing. If that's what the author wants.

Sorta, maybe... but I think you are pushing the envelope with this
suggestion. I don't like the idea of the content just disappearing because
the author wants it to appear "just so".

I think we have made great progress in giving designers control over
appearance, and some reassurance that things will appear as they desire
almost all of the time... but the web is (IMO) still about delivery of
information, and I think users deserve to get it, even if the designer
doesn't like the way it looks.

-Christopher
Received on Saturday, 20 March 2010 14:27:09 GMT

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