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Re: ISSUE-2332: Comment regarding Text layout [SVG 1.1 F2 Last Call]

From: Tavmjong Bah <tavmjong@free.fr>
Date: Tue, 06 Jul 2010 16:52:42 +0200
To: SVG Working Group WG <public-svg-wg@w3.org>, Alex Danilo <alex@abbra.com>
Message-ID: <1278427962.1665.364.camel@localhost>

Hi,

	Issue 2332, Comment regarding Text layout was discussed at
last weeks telcon. I've investigate the issue a bit further and
have written up a short report that follows.

					Tav

Summary of issue:

    The main question is how should ligatures be treated in regards to
    the 'x', 'y', 'dx', 'dy', and 'rotate' attributes. 10.5 gives rules
    for how the attributes are applied while 10.7.1 states that
    ligatures should not be used if explicit values for 'x' or 'y' are
    given as these create different "text chunks". This negates the
    need for the rules in 10.5 to apply to 'x' or 'y'. (10.7.1 also
    state ligatures should not be used if the kerning attribute or
    letter-spacing attribute is non-zero.)

    NB The attributes are applied to characters.


Current browser behavior (using system fonts):

  See:

  http://dev.w3.org/SVG/profiles/1.1F2/ua-tests/ligature-breaking.svg

  Firefox 4.0b2pre: Uses ligatures, does not support letter-spacing,
                    broken for ligatures with x, y, dx, dy, rotate 

  Chrome 5.0.375.86 beta, Opera 10.60, Batik 1.7: Don't use ligatures.

  IE9, Safari: Haven't tested.

  Inkscape: Uses ligatures, letter-spacing does not break ligatures (bug),
            breaks ligatures with x, y, dx, dy, rotate attributes

Discussion:

  Uses:

    It appears to me that there are two different use cases for text
    (this echos the SVG font issue): High quality typesetting and
    artistic layout. Which of these two is the main goal can determine
    the desired behavior with regards to ligature.

    * High quality type setting:

        In this case, ligatures are usually desirable. In addition it
        may be desirable to finely control character positioning. This
        view supports not changing section 10.5 which allows
        ligatures and the characters that follow ligatures to be
        placed precisely. It requires, though, that the specified font
        is available. (Erik notes that in some cases ligatures have
        Unicode code points that can be explicitly specified.)

    * Artistic layout:

        In this case, ligatures may not be desirable. Consider the
        word "Office". If used in a signboard with large
        inter-character spacing, you would expect it to be rendered
        something like this:

        O  f  f  i  c  e

        If you used a ligature, it would be rendered something
        like this:

        O ffi       c  e

        If the designer has specified 'x' or 'y' (or 'rotate') values,
        then a ligature is probably not what they intended. Clearly
        you would not want the layout to vary depending on whether or
        not a font includes ligatures (e.g. if a fallback font is used
        with ligatures, when the primary font does not).
  
  Latin alphabet perspective:

    In Latin alphabets, ligatures are mostly a style issue, used to
    improve the look or readability of text. Their use is never(?)
    required. (There may be exceptions such as the German ß or Dutch ij
    but these have separate Unicode points which are likely to be
    explicitly used.) CSS2 dictates ligatures should not be used if
    the spacing between the two characters is not the default spacing
    (e.g line-spacing != 0 or kerning != auto).

  Non-Latin alphabet perspective:

    An expert should be consulted to determine if ligature use is
    mandatory in some cases. Recall that 10.7.1 blocks ligature usage
    in some cases. Arabic and Hindi scripts may require ligatures,
    but at the same time they probably don't allow characters to be
    moved arbitrarily around.

Suggested solution:

  For the short term:

    Choose the "Artistic layout" perspective. This seems the closest
    to the spirit of SVG.

    Change the third and fourth bullet points in 10.5 to:

    * When multiple XML characters map to a single glyph (e.g., when a
      ligature is used) - Suppose that the i-th and (i+1)-th XML
      characters map to a single glyph. In this case, the i-th value
      for the ‘x’, ‘y’, ‘dx’, ‘dy’ and ‘rotate’ attributes all apply
      when rendering the glyph. The (i+1)-th values ‘dx’ and ‘dy’ are
      applied to the subsequent XML character (i.e., the (i+2)-th
      character), if one exists, by translating the current text
      position by the given amounts before rendering the first glyph
      associated with that character. Note that the (i+2)-th character
      may have its own corresponding 'dx' and 'dy' values that must be
      included. Further note that 10.7.1 may prevent ligature
      formation.

    * When there is a many-to-many mapping of characters to glyphs
      (e.g., when three characters map to two glyphs, such as when the
      first glyph expresses the first character and half of the second
      character, and the second glyph expresses the other half of the
      second character plus the third character) - Suppose that the
      i-th, (i+1)-th and (i+2)-th XML characters map to two glyphs. In
      this case, the i-th value for the ‘x’, ‘y’, ‘dx’ and ‘dy’ values
      are applied (i.e., the current text position is adjusted) before
      rendering the first glyph. The rotation transformation
      corresponding to the i-th ‘rotate’ value is applied to both the
      two glyphs and the glyph advance values for the first glyph on a
      group basis (i.e., the rotation value creates a temporary new
      rotated coordinate system, and the two glyphs are rendered into
      the temporary rotated coordinate system). The (i+1)-th and
      (i+2)-th values for the ‘dx’ and ‘dy’ attributes are applied to
      the subsequent XML character (i.e., the (i+3)-th character), if
      one exists, by translating the current text position by the
      given amounts before rendering the first glyph associated with
      that character.

    Add a bullet point to 10.7.1:

    * Ligature formation should not be used when the second or later
      character that could form part of a ligature has a 'rotation'
      value different from that of the first character.

   (Comment: I would think that dx and dy should also break ligatures.)

  For the long term (SVG2):

    Add a use-ligature (always, never) attribute which
    would determine between 10.5 and 10.7.1 behavior.
    Erik points out that there is the text-rendering attribute
    that might be useful.
Received on Tuesday, 6 July 2010 14:53:21 UTC

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