W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > February 2015

Re: [css-inline] constant leading and dominant baselines

From: L. David Baron <dbaron@dbaron.org>
Date: Mon, 9 Feb 2015 23:43:01 +1100
To: John Daggett <jdaggett@mozilla.com>
Cc: www-style <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20150209124301.GA13831@pescadero.dbaron.org>
On Monday 2015-02-09 21:21 +0900, John Daggett wrote:
> One of these is the ability to fix the leading between lines.  Even when a
> fixed line-height value is specified, the actual height of the linebox may
> change due to variations in the fonts or content included in a line or due
> to alignment variations. Common examples in existing web content are the
> use of HTML synthetic superscripts or lines involving multiple fonts with
> different line metrics. The benefit of this variable line height model is
> that the contents of one line never collide with the contents of the lines
> above or below it. The downside is that when line placement varies it often
> does so in ways that are unnecessary and detract from the readability.
> To allow high quality, constant leading, a 'line-height-style' property
> would be very useful:
>   line-height-style: variable | fixed
> The initial value would be 'variable' and would represent current behavior.
> Lines would be placed based at the maximum of the line-height value and the
> height of the current linebox. The 'fixed' value would specify that lines
> would always be placed a constant distance apart, independent of the height
> of the linebox.
> Using the 'fixed' value would allow authors to have fixed spacing of lines
> as is used traditionally in publishing. In extreme cases, collisions
> between lines might occur.

Also see the 'line-box-contain' property that is or was in the
draft.  What you want might be 'block' or 'block replaced' or

(I could imagine some authors wanting images to interrupt
line-spacing even when inline font variations don't, and others
wanting to go the other way.)

> It would also be useful to have a property to specify the dominant
> baseline. This is a reduced version of the property proposed in an older
> draft of the line layout spec:
>   dominant-baseline: auto | alphabetic | ideographic | hanging | central
> Here 'auto' would mean alphabetic for horizontal writing modes and central
> for vertical writing modes. For fonts with baseline information (e.g. a
> BASE table or it's equivalent) that information would be used to place text
> with respect to that baseline. For fonts lacking this information,
> appropriate defaults would be defined.

Given that this property is part of SVG and part of browsers, I
think we need to specify it eventually.

I described some of the history in
although I'm not sure if we got it all right.

I think after some discussion we decided we want alignment-baseline
and baseline-shift to be subproperties of a shorthand
vertical-align, but dominant-baseline not to be reset by the
shorthand.  See:


𝄞   L. David Baron                         http://dbaron.org/   𝄂
𝄢   Mozilla                          https://www.mozilla.org/   𝄂
             Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
             What I was walling in or walling out,
             And to whom I was like to give offense.
               - Robert Frost, Mending Wall (1914)

Received on Monday, 9 February 2015 12:43:55 UTC

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