W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > January 2012

Re: CSS and Type

From: Matthew Wilcox <elvendil@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, 9 Jan 2012 18:12:36 +0000
Cc: www-style@w3.org, Matthew Wilcox <mail@matthewwilcox.com>
Message-Id: <56F19420-78CA-4094-A2D8-EC86F0830523@gmail.com>
To: Anton Prowse <prowse@moonhenge.net>
> Note that you can have a long list of fallback fonts.  A Web search for "css font stacks" returns numerous resources listing stacks of the form
> font-family:'Bookman Old Style',Bookman,'URW Bookman L','Palatino Linotype',serif;

Yes, my point is that font-stacks don't help much for a designer because of the way CSS works and because the average user won't have many fonts installed. It's very unlikely that they'll have anything close enough to a true "substitute" that's acceptable. They'll certainly have a substitute technically, but it won't be a good one, no matter how long the fallback stack.

> You should clarify that CSS has little concept of a *document* baseline.  (In fact CSS21 has no such concept.  There is a Line Layout module[1] in CSS3 but it is severely outdated and I don't know if it has a current editor.)

Yes, I should have made that clear.
> But the vertical-align that you want isn't the same as the vertical-align that CSS possesses.  I presume you want vertical-align on blocks to enforce a baseline grid.  However, CSS's vertical-align wouldn't make any sense on blocks.  It's a different beast.  So it's not so much unfortunate that vertical-align has no effect on blocks; rather, you view it as unfortunate that it isn't the property that you wish it were.

We're talking about Type which has specified terminology and we're talking about CSS's implementation of Type. Half the issue with CSS is that type was badly defined to begin with - a number of properties we have aren't even named the right thing, and some that we have named right don't do the right thing. Vertical-align is one of the latter. Letter-spacing and line-height are examples of the former. Why should a designer or typographer care in any way about the history of CSS's implementation when they know that type has a vertical alignment property and so does CSS. Of course they expect it to do the same thing, of course it ought to do the same thing. CSS's type implementation is an implementation of existing principles. That they are poor implementations (typographically) is not the typographers problem.

> Indeed.  (This would require a complete rethink about how the stack is defined.)

I'm down with that, it'd be a much more useful and appropriate methodology. What we have is a holdover from a not particularly well thought out process (typographically speaking, I'm sure it was well thought out programatically).

> Hopefully the CSS3 Line Layout module will be revived at some point!
> http://www.w3.org/TR/css3-linebox/

That looks really good from my first scan through. Do we know why it has sat languishing instead of getting some attention?
Received on Monday, 9 January 2012 18:13:18 UTC

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