W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > April 2010

RE: Another cut on the Character-Transform Property

From: Richard Fink <rfink@readableweb.com>
Date: Sun, 4 Apr 2010 19:44:28 -0400
To: "'John Hudson'" <tiro@tiro.com>, "'Brad Kemper'" <brad.kemper@gmail.com>, <www-style@w3.org>
Cc: "'John Daggett'" <jdaggett@mozilla.com>, <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <003901cad450$c48b82f0$4da288d0$@com>
Sunday, April 04, 2010 4:14 PM <tiro@tiro.com>:

>The target audience for advanced typographic features in CSS is presumably
>people who know something about typography, so presenting information in
>terminology that is familiar to those people is probably a good idea.


Every web designer/developer on earth is a typographer. That's just the fact
of it. And their number is in the millions. It might not be typography as
you practice it, or grew up with it, or even as you would like it to be, but
it is typography. And until a feature exists, those millions can't use it.
But when it's available, they will notice it, they will understand it, and
they will make good use of it.
My wife is a nurse-educator who will be getting her master's degree the end
of this month. She makes a lot of PowerPoint presentations. Choice of font,
font sizes, bullets, paragraph widths - these are all typographic decisions
are they not? She makes them. We all do.

To paraphrase advertising giant David Ogilvy: The typographer is not an
idiot, she is my wife.

How many people are you talking about that you presume "know something about
typography" and whose existing taxonomy and nomenclature should taken into
account? (Because I'm not saying it shouldn't.) Because if these are the
folks that should be catered to, their number is a legitimate question. And
how many of them actively design for the web? And how can they design for
the web if they don't learn CSS? And if they learn CSS, how is it that the
terminology - as long as it is in keeping with CSS as it has evolved - be
cryptic to them?
See the problem with what you're suggesting?

Here are the properties listed on the Microsoft Dev Network's Font and Text
CSS properties page:

content, counterIncrement, counterReset, direction, font, fontFamily,
fontSize, fontStyle, fontVariant, fontWeight, imeMode, layoutFlow,
layoutGrid, layoutGridChar, layoutGridLine, layoutGridMode, layoutGridType,
letterSpacing, lineBreak, lineHeight, quotes, rubyAlign, rubyOverhang,
rubyPosition, textAlign, textAlignLast, textAutospace, textDecoration,
textDecorationBlink, textDecorationLineThrough, textDecorationNone,
textDecorationOverline, textDecorationUnderline, textIndent, textJustify,
textKashidaSpace, textOverflow, textTransform, textUnderlinePosition,
unicodeBidi, verticalAlign, whitespace, wordbreak, wordSpacing, wordWrap,

Now, I'd be surprised if, by the property name only, you could even map what
each one of them does to an exact "typographic" term as you use it.
"Tracking" is letter-spacing. "Leading" is line-height. And on and on.

That's why there is this public list - to invite experts such as yourself to
help do the hard work (and it is very hard) of mapping new properties being
added to the language of Cascading Style Sheets to the terminology as it is
currently used by the *relatively* few (let's face it) who are intimately
familiar with these features today.

Incidentally, my friend Harry Potter absolutely insisted that I suggest the


even though I told him the chances of adoption were slim to none. ;)



-----Original Message-----
From: www-style-request@w3.org [mailto:www-style-request@w3.org] On Behalf
Of John Hudson
Sent: Sunday, April 04, 2010 4:14 PM
To: www-style@w3.org
Cc: www-style@w3.org
Subject: Re: Another cut on the Character-Transform Property

Perry Smith wrote:

> The title of the section is "Positional character forms" ...

Well, I might take issue with that terminology too.:)

'Positional character forms' suggests to me something like 
word-positional forms or Arabic letter-group positional forms -- 
initial, medial, final --, i.e. forms determined by character position.

A general problem of the draft, from a typographic perspective, is that 
the terminology is often not that used by typographers. Apart from being 
confusing, this leads some of my colleagues -- notably David Berlow -- 
to question the W3C's credibility in defining typographic features. The 
target audience for advanced typographic features in CSS is presumably 
people who know something about typography, so presenting information in 
terminology that is familiar to those people is probably a good idea.

Received on Sunday, 4 April 2010 23:44:55 UTC

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