Re: font features in CSS

On 28 Oct 2009, at 22:27, Stephen Zilles wrote:

> So, I do not propose, as the above prior proposals did, that we add  
> a bunch of properties. I do, however, propose that we add a registry  
> that gives long names (understandable and suggestive names) that map  
> to one or more 4 letter codes.

I'm not sure how you are intending this to be used? Do you mean a  
registry that authors would refer to, in order to know what 4-letter  
tags to include in their CSS? Or would the "long names" be used in the  
stylesheet itself, and the UA would then use the registry to map these  
to the 4-letter tags?

One of the reasons to propose specific properties (font-variant-* or  
whatever) for "well-known" features is that it allows the CSS to be  
less closely tied to the underlying font technology. While the current  
focus is on OpenType, we should not tie CSS to that. Similar features  
can also be implemented in AAT, Graphite, or perhaps other  
technologies. If CSS defines a collection of typographic-feature  
properties, then authors can express their choices in a technology- 
independent way and UAs can realize these through whatever font  
technology(ies) they support.

> So, one approach would be to make the "=number" part optional. If  
> omitted, the feature would simply be toggled. Why "toggled" you ask.  
> Because it makes sense for some of the features to be, by default,  
> enabled. And, it is also necessary to be able to turn off a feature.  
> If an author were in doubt about the state of a feature (whether  
> enabled or disabled), then the author could always use the "=number"  
> form of the setting to set it to an explicit state.

Toggling seems potentially very confusing to me... especially once you  
start to think about cascading. "FEAT=number", where it is always  
explicit whether the feature is being turned on or off, is much  
clearer. (Another variant is the form that I implemented some years  
ago for XeTeX: it uses +FEAT to turn on, -FEAT to turn off. But then  
to support features that require a numeric argument, it uses  
+FEAT=number, which I don't much like.)

> [SZ] I strongly dislike "magic" because it is hard to remember and  
> it is hard to interpret. I would therefore suggest as set of  
> keywords that could be added to the setting of the basic property  
> value. There are two sets of these keywords: the first set consists  
> of "block" and "word"; the second set consists of "all", "first" and  
> "last". (I do not believe that this is an exhaustive set of possible  
> keywords, only a set sufficient to describe the Mozilla behavior.)

Mozilla isn't doing "magic" here; the magic is in the font's  
contextual lookups, where it belongs. (See my earlier reply to Håkon.)


Received on Thursday, 29 October 2009 05:05:54 UTC