W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-stroke-fonts@w3.org > June 2015

Strokes are just one piece of the puzzle

From: Dave Crossland <dave@lab6.com>
Date: Thu, 25 Jun 2015 10:34:25 -0400
Message-ID: <CAEozd0zQczorSkS70TYS76B+X90_7rJgN7dzFVEfxEwCWbY7tQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-stroke-fonts@w3.org

For "the next" font format, strokes are just one piece of the puzzle. I've
started to list other pieces here:


Future Global Font Format Requirements

Suggestions for a future font technology that solves problems with existing


  • 1 Better complex script support
  • 2 Better compression
  • 3 Better UIs
  • 4 Bigger fonts
  • 5 Unencoded characters (Gaiji)

Better complex script support

Users of complex scripts suffer clumsy or even broken shaping models.

  • Use a shaping system that supports non-adjacent positioning to produce
a design that users love for such a script (eg Urdu Nastaleeq). Relevant
examples: DecoType's ACE, SIL's Graphite, Apple's GX Layout.
http://tiro.com/John/ contains some essays on this topic.

  • Use a shaping markup syntax for authoring shaping logic that is
formally defined and pleasant to type, similar Adobe's Feature File.
twitter discussion

  • ACTION: Add examples of bad shaping

Better compression

Users suffer slow font loading or filled disks because app/web developers
must send dozens of instances in a family over the wire or store them on
disk, despite that the type designers create only a few masters.

  • Do family variation client-side. Relevant examples: Apple's GX
Variations, Adobe's Multiple Masters, LettError's MutatorMath, Knuth's
METAFONT, Fister's Metapolator, or Elseware's Infinifont (PANOSE2)

  • Introduce new contour primitives. Relevant examples: Glyphs 2's Smart
Components, METAFONT/Metapolator/other *stroke primitives*, or Levien's
Spiro splines.

  • Design the format for on-disk compression. Relevant examples: Google's

  • Design the format for streaming/ Relevant examples: Google's TachyFont

Better UIs

Users don't know about font features or understand how to use them.

  • Provide a reference UI for users to review the typographic features in
a font. This could be in a font utility app like OS X's Font Book, which
already shows character set, text samples and information on language
support, naming and foundry notices. It could equally be in the font panel
which gets seen more than a utility app.

  • Provide a reference UI for os/toolkit/application developers to enable
users to activate features. Relevant examples: Adobe's recent efforts for
OpenType and Peter Sikking's Interaction Architecture contributions to
Libre Graphics applications

  • Provide a reference UI for font developers to author shaping logic
graphically, similar to Microsoft's Volt

Bigger fonts

Users are burdened when fonts that require more than 64k glyphs are split
into sets of fonts.

  • Remove the glyph limit.

  • Provide more documentation and tools for system developers, type
designers and users to support and use the composite font format from Adobe
and Apple that enables a virtual font to be created out of many component
fonts, effectively removing the limit on the number of glyphs.

Unencoded characters (Gaiji)

  • Support rare and ancient characters found in Chinese, Japanese and
Korean. This is the subject of a Wikimedia grant project

Received on Thursday, 25 June 2015 14:35:34 UTC

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