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Re: [CSS21][css3-text] letter-spacing, word-spacing and justification

From: fantasai <fantasai.lists@inkedblade.net>
Date: Thu, 01 Aug 2013 03:30:47 -0700
Message-ID: <51FA38D7.2040200@inkedblade.net>
To: www-style@w3.org
On 07/31/2013 11:07 AM, Stephen Zilles wrote:
> Bert,
>
> I support Proposal 1 below for the following reasons:
> 1. The proposal resolves an existing problem. I have been told (and
>    cannot confirm) that there is existing CJK content that specifies
>    "letter-spacing:0" and still expects (and in existing implementations
>    gets) spacing between CJK glyphs.

Yes, Murakami-san reported this problem:
   http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/2013Jan/0221.html
I believe Koji looked into it and found it's reasonably common,
but he'll have to confirm.

>    It was also asserted that existing implementations typically ignore
>    explicit letter-spacing values.

This is not true. Explicit letter-spacing is honored for CJK content.

> 2. The property, "letter-spacing", which was (originally, I think)
>    created for texts written in Western alphabets, has been extended
>    to South Asian and East Asian scripts. These latter scripts have
>    aspects (such as combining forms and, for some, lack of a word
>    space) that make their use of letter-spacing behave rather
>    differently than it was intended to do for Western texts. For
>    example, the spacing rules for Japanese text are much more
>    complicated than are the rules for Latin script based texts.
>    http://www.w3.org/TR/jlreq/#spacing_between_characters

I think this is the important point to keep in mind; that it's not
just about Western scripts. I will note, however, that letter-spacing
was never "extended" to other scripts; it has always applied to all
scripts. I do suspect that this was intentional. Certainly, it's not
something we can (or, imo, should) change at this point, being a
well-established and reasonable behavior.

The main problem is that in CSS, *justification* was conceived of
with a Western-script-only mindset, so it's unsurprising that a
CSS feature that attempts to control it (like letter-spacing) is
defined with some incorrect assumptions in mind. We should not be
continuing down that path, however.

~fantasai
Received on Thursday, 1 August 2013 10:31:15 UTC

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