W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > October 2011

Re: List cases for a cap height unit

From: Alan Stearns <stearns@adobe.com>
Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2011 12:32:36 -0700
To: "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>
CC: www-style list <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <CACDAE64.88C2%stearns@adobe.com>
On 10/26/11 11:34 AM, "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com> wrote:
> 
> In the final property descriptions, of course precise terms will be used.
> 
> In use-cases, you rarely need or want that, because you're looking for
> problems to solve, not solutions.  Using the cap height or the ascent
> or what have you is part of a particular solution to a use-case.
> 
> 
>... it looks like cap height is still what is wanted for
> usecases 2 and 3.  More generally, for both of them you want a height
> that "fills the line" without disturbing the vertical rhythm.  A
> sparkline that went from the baseline to the ascent would be slightly
> suboptimal, as it would be taller than most capital letters and thus
> would "stick out" somewhat.  Similarly for smilies - I believe one
> that went up to the ascent would look a little bit oversized.

I agree that cap height is really what's wanted for all three of your use
cases. If "cap height" is too technical a term for the use cases, could we
use "height of a capital letter?"

> On Wed, Oct 26, 2011 at 11:10 AM, Stephen Zilles <szilles@adobe.com> wrote:
>> In a Middle Eastern context (i.e. unicameral "alphabets" - Arabic, Armenian,
>> Coptic/Ethiopic, and Hebrew) I would suggest using the figure height -
>> although there's a risk that figures in many fonts for these systems will
>> not be well fitted to the design.
> 
> Can you point to a diagram or something similar showing the
> differences between figure and cap height for such scripts?  I don't
> have a good graph on why one is better than the other for these types
> of scripts.

If it's true that figure height would be better in some scripts for these
use cases, then that's an argument for exposing a figure height unit in
addition to cap height. The way I'm looking at a cap height unit is that
it's just the next step in exposing more typographic units. We've got em, ex
and ch and are now thinking of adding cap height. Later on we may find use
cases for other information we can glean from font data.

Thanks,

Alan
Received on Wednesday, 26 October 2011 19:33:05 GMT

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