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

RE: [css3 fonts] font-specific features

From: Richard Fink <rfink@readableweb.com>
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 2010 19:04:48 +0100
To: "'John Hudson'" <tiro@tiro.com>, "'Sylvain Galineau'" <sylvaing@microsoft.com>
Cc: "'John Daggett'" <jdaggett@mozilla.com>, "'www-style'" <www-style@w3.org>, "'www-font'" <www-font@w3.org>
Message-ID: <00a901cb5825$28d14a30$7a73de90$@com>
Saturday, September 18, 2010 1:01 AM <tiro@tiro.com>:

>>Sylvain Galineau wrote:

>> This is not directly related but allow me to use the opportunity to 
>> ask the same dumb question I asked at Typecon: how do authors find 
>> out about the features available in a font and the correct integer 
>> values to use ?

John Hudson said:

>How do authors find out about the features available in an application?
>Documentation...

Hmm... partly. Depends. For example, there are ways to test and/or query for objects and properties in JavaScript which give you a kind of on-the-fly documentation which is very, very useful.
I can understand Sylvain's concerns on this.
Is there no way to similarly query a font for features?
That is, rifle through the possible combinations and see what's there?
The RTFM (Read The Feckin Manual) approach has never been very effective. And what happens when you update the font?

Chris Lilley wrote:
>>They read the ample documentation that comes with the font.
>>No? Ok well then they use trial and error. Or load it into a font editor and look.

So, jump the garden fence and load the *WOFF* into a font editor and look, eh? Everybody OK with that?

Would it not make a lot of sense to include *a web page* along with the WOFF (or other format) to demonstrate features, rather than a PDF. That would be much, much more effective documentation because the CSS would be there for authors as well. Integrating the advanced features would become more of a cut-and-paste operation. I am assuming it would be quite time consuming for web authors to map what they see in a PDF to the equivalent CSS rules.
(Reserving judgment until I try doing so myself but experience says a web page with CSS rules to guide is going to be one heck of a lot easier.)

Regards,

Rich

-----Original Message-----
From: www-font-request@w3.org [mailto:www-font-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of John Hudson
Sent: Saturday, September 18, 2010 1:01 AM
To: Sylvain Galineau
Cc: John Daggett; www-style; www-font
Subject: Re: [css3 fonts] font-specific features

Sylvain Galineau wrote:

> This is not directly related but allow me to use the opportunity
> to ask the same dumb question I asked at Typecon: how do authors
> find out about the features available in a font and the correct
> integer values to use ?

How do authors find out about the features available in an application?

Documentation. The more complex the capabilities of fonts become, the 
more need there is for documentation of those capabilities and how to 
access them. Some fonts already come with detailed manuals explaining 
how to access specific variant glyphs or behaviours, usually in the 
context of page layout or word processing applications, e.g.
http://www.sbl-site.org/Fonts/SBLHebrewUserManual1.5x.pdf

> Next question for the Web Fonts WG is: would an enumeration of
> the features available in a font be a valuable use of the WOFF
> metadata block ? I suspect it would make the latter far more
> valuable to authors and thus add incentives for browser/tool
> vendors to display its content.

It's possible. In general I'd say that WOFF metadata should apply to the 
WOFF file, i.e. to the wrapper and the delivery of what it contains, 
whereas this is information that relates to the font within the wrapper 
and how it is used, A font 'Manual' link in the font name table, 
alongside the existing designer, foundry and licensing links, seems to 
me a fairly simple way of addressing this.

With the use of web fonts and CSS3, we have the option of making this 
documentation available via HTML and CSS, demonstrating the font 
features live at the same time as providing example syntax.

Since web authors may be working directly with the WOFF file, rather 
than with an unpacked, desktop installed version of the font, is there a 
benefit to having a 'Manual' link in the standard WOFF metadata in 
addition to in the font data? I can imagine that a manual for use of the 
font on the web might differ from or be more CSS-specific than a general 
font manual related to use in a range of environments. So perhaps a case 
can be made, as with the license info metadata, for WOFF-related 
documentation that differs from other documentation.

JH
Received on Sunday, 19 September 2010 18:05:29 GMT

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