Re: New CSS1 draft available

"David Perrell" <davidp@earthlink.net>

> lee@sq.com wrote:
>> It is not possible to use CSS to generte a drop cap properly. 
>> Unless the spec is changed, you don't have enough information
>> available to specify a drop cap for anything other than the single
>> screen you are using at the time, with the fonts you are seeing at that
>> time.
>> Even with embedded/referenced fonts, you still can't do it.
> By your reasoning PDF files with initial caps shouldn't work (they do).

Er, no, because a PDF file isn't reformatted on the fly at varying
resolutions.  A PDF file is like a resolution-independent bitmap...
The drop caps work in PDF because they are aligned exactly in the
first place.

> But I generally agree with you. The current 'first-letter' is nothing
> more than a span with pre-defined limitations. BUT you don't go far
> enough. You describe a very limited case of drop caps. What of the case
> when the designer wants the top of the cap to be a specific distance
> above the height of the first line of text?

I wanted to avoid the browser (or other agent) not being abe to process
the data because it didn't know that the intent was a drop cap; I didn't
want to insist on further refinement that might delay implementation.

> For a three line drop cap in the case of 12/14pt text, height = 0,
> depth = 28pt. Still simple and perfectly accurate, but a helluva lot
> more versatile than a spec limited to standardized drop caps and
> measured in lines.
But it doesn't work if the user has specified a larger type size -- it
will just look silly in that case.  Defining it in terms of the number of
lines means it will always work.

Refinements can be added later if necessary.

> The only consideration remaining is the margin below the cap, which
> should probably default to a negative value that equates to the
> distance from the bottom of the first-letter's line-height to the
> baseline.

I'm not sure I follow this, but allowing the max of the remainder of the
drop cap's depth (basline to bottom of the body) and the corresponding
amount on the text line with which the drop cap aligns is probably sufficient
for a first draft.  Additional drop-cap properties could be added later,
as far as I can tell, as long as you've identified drop caps properly.

I would press for the minimum change that will make drop caps work, and
I think that's to specify the number of lines for them to span and align.
It would help impementors if the draft suggested an algorithm or if it
could include a diagram.