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Re: [csswg-drafts] [css-fonts-4] Font variations do not support responsive layout

From: Myles C. Maxfield via GitHub <sysbot+gh@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2017 19:35:49 +0000
To: public-css-archive@w3.org
Message-ID: <issue_comment.created-282096794-1487878548-sysbot+gh@w3.org>
The stylistic relationship between the UA environment and the specific
 values chosen for properties (or variation axes) must be chosen by 
the designer, not the browser. This is how all responsive design 
works: media queries or environment-dependent units let authors apply 
some style with regards to the environment, but that style is supplied
 by the web author. Font variations are part of the reaction to the 
environment, not the environment itself. Detecting if variations are 
supported by the browser is already possible with `@supports`.

That being said, there are only a few (4) variation axes which are 
well-known (and mentioned in the OpenType spec), and each one has a 
CSS property associated with it. Browsers can't choose good values for
 your examples of stem widths and serif sizes because browsers have no
 concept of those axes (because they are not well-known). If a web 
author wants to adjust stem widths and serif sizes, they must do it 
themselves with `font-variation-settings` and the existing responsive 
design mechanisms. If a web author wants to adjust one of the four 
well-known properties, they can do that too using the existing 

An example of responsive design working well is with the 
font-optical-size property, which just accepts two values: `auto` and 
`none`. This lets the browser select the best optical size from the 
environment in which the text is shown. However, it doesn't make sense
 for the other 3 well-known axes to accept values like this: no 
designer wants the browser to control the weight of the type, or 
whether or not it is italic.

If we add new well-known variation axes, I totally agree that each one
 should be investigated with responsive design in mind to determine 
the best way it can be used by authors, browsers, and font creators. I
 am happy to hear use cases to see if there are any that are not 
currently solved that are also worth solving.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that the title of this issue, "Font 
variations do not support responsive layout," is false because font 
variations provide the same support that every other property does. 
Maybe one day, when we add a new property, we'll do it badly, but for 
the support that exists in CSS today, responsive designs are supported
 the same way they're supported anywhere else.

Of course, I invite any/all designers to discuss use cases where the 
current CSS support is insufficient (which we are currently doing in 
the many other open issues).

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Received on Thursday, 23 February 2017 19:35:57 UTC

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