Re: Current Downloadable Font Status....

At 6:10 PM -0400 8/21/97, Brad Chase wrote:

>TrueDoc is an enabling technology for remotely imaging fonts used in
>electronic documents. It is designed to be able image fonts used in
>creating publications on any supported authoring environment on any
>TrueDoc aware client.

Leaving aesthetic and legal opinions aside for a moment, my main beef with
Netscape's implementation of TrueDoc has to do with the introduction of the
POINT-SIZE attribute to FONT. There's both a usability issue and a
standards issue:

* As I can easily and amply demonstrate, points are a meaningless unit for
on-screen type specification across platforms. I hear frequently that more
than 60% of commercial web sites are designed on Macs, where 1 point is one
pixel, regardless of real pixel density. Points specified in this
environment will end up looking much larger most everywhere else, and in
the opposite case text is often unreadably small for us Mac folk. Compare
the screenshot referenced in your post (
http://www.bitstream.com/world/screen.htm ) with the one I took of it on my
Mac: http://pdf.verso.com/truedoc/pointless.GIF . (Not only is the type 25%
smaller in pixels, the GIF of the rendering is considerably smaller than
the live TrueDoc data)

* Because TrueDoc will not work with other/older browsers anyway, and
Netscape 4 partially implements CSS1, Netscape's introduction of a new way
to specify font size in HTML is either an ignorant or a calculated way to
confuse and retard the deployment of CSS as the standard presentation
language for HTML. *gulp*

I may be ill-informed here, but is it not the case that one must specify
both a font color and background color when one "rolls" the non-font font
("portable font resource")? That means no cascading: yet another stumbling
block for the standardization of CSS. If you don't believe in cascading,
chances are you're really impressed with flying layers and the z-axis,
which means your background color or image is likely to change, either in
time or in x/y space. Often. What happens to TrueDoc's anti-aliasing when
you're flying red text over a zebra-stripe background?

And what's up with the character encoding? The test page at this address:

...still looks like this after downloading "98% of 43K":

http://pdf.verso.com/truedoc/Xality.GIF .*

I thought a major strength of live text/fonts over artwork was that the
former could be searched, cut-and-pasted, etc. Yet here you've got "X"
invoking a "Qu" ligature. Perhaps Netscape should introduce an ALT
attribute to the FONT element....

TrueDoc strikes me as a 60% solution to a large set of hard problems. It
may be the first to arrive at the party, but it's missing pants.

* the screwed-up text below the "Xality" line is an artifact of SmoothType,
not of TrueDoc.

For let us suppose, e.g., that someone makes a number of marks on paper
quite at random, as do those who practice the ridiculous art of geomancy
[web design - ed]. I say that it is possible to find a geometrical line,
the notion of which is constant & uniform according to a certain rule, such
that this line passes through all these points, and in the same order as
the hand had marked them.

--Leibniz, the other calculus guy

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