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Re: Examples of double-sided ruby (was RE: Feedback for rb from html5j.org (was RE: HTML5 and ruby

From: Taro Yamamoto <tyamamot@adobe.com>
Date: Wed, 25 Jan 2012 01:57:07 -0800
To: "public-i18n-cjk@w3.org" <public-i18n-cjk@w3.org>
Message-ID: <BD6A1130020B4A4597CCDECFD2BCA31D53ABE848DB@nambx08.corp.adobe.com>
I have a question about the idea of supporting and reproducing the double-sided style of ruby.

It is clear that ruby is a widely accepted, typographic method of annotation to Japanese printed text. On the other hand, it is also known that ruby introduces much complexity and additional constraints to the decision making processes in typesetting: line-breaking, letter-spacing, and justification, etc.

Ruby can add more and more constraints to the text composition, as the number of ruby instances in a paragraph grows, and it tends to result in spacing effects that are worse than those made without applying any ruby. This applies to common single-sided ruby. So, can't we predict, yet roughly, that the amount of the complexity that could be increased by the introduction of double-sided ruby will become tremendous?

I don't mean that ruby is a bad thing. I think ruby is a great invention in the age of printed books. Also, I know that skilled typographers can compose text with many ruby instances nicely, minimizing the possible negative spacing effects.

However, in the world wide web and digital publishing today, there should be better methods for annotating text than traditional ruby that used to work well for printed books.

This is just my guess, but adding double-sided ruby instances into ordinary text can introduce too much complexity and too many constraints to be solved by the composing software, and even at the cost, they will still have to show mediocre spacing results at best. So, I'm wondering who will pay the cost?

I know that double-sided ruby is more widely used in the field of textbook and study aid book publishing than in other areas of publishing in Japan. But if so, we should use a better method to annotate text (than traditional ruby), with which the readers (students or pupils?) can understand the text more easily and intuitively, without damaging the spacing and readability of the entire text. Shouldn't we utilize a more sophisticated method designed with our latest knowledge in the field of human computer interaction?

Just my thoughts.

Taro Yamamoto
Adobe Systems
Received on Wednesday, 25 January 2012 09:57:36 UTC

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