W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > August 2014

Re: [css-color] Preemptive rebuttal to requests to merge the JS color classes

From: Liam R E Quin <liam@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 9 Aug 2014 00:19:07 -0400
To: "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Cc: www-style list <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20140809001907.1454b6a6.liam@w3.org>
On Fri, 8 Aug 2014 13:26:27 -0700
"Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com> wrote:

> In IRC, Lea inadvertently made some arguments for keeping the
> attributes single-letter, rather than words.  The "k" in "cmyk"
> technically stands for "key" (as in key plate; I don't know what that
> is), rather than "blacK", so using words means we have a choice of
> being accurate-but-confusing or intuitive-but-inaccurate.

A key plate, or keystone, is the first plate used for printing; the other colours are aligned to it. It does not have to be black. In CMYK printing the black is the key, though, so yes K in that context is Key.

In a duotone with, say, red and grey inks, the red plate might be chosen as the key. Calling K "black" in CMYK would be perfectly acceptable and would match common usage.

> Further, it's unclear whether the "canonical" words for the W and B
> channels of HWB are white/black or whiteness/blackness.

That we don't know the correct spelling isn't an argument for making them cryptic. The original paper by Alvy Ray Smith and Eric Ray Lyns [1] uses whiteness and blackness, as does (for what little it's worth) wikipedia.

There might be other reasons to prefer single-character channel names, but I don't think either of these two were good reasons.



[1] http://alvyray.com/Papers/CG/HWB_JGTv208.pdf

Liam Quin - XML Activity Lead, W3C, http://www.w3.org/People/Quin/
Pictures from old books: http://fromoldbooks.org/
Received on Saturday, 9 August 2014 04:19:13 UTC

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