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

Re: Proposal: add a "small-caps" value to "font-synthesis"

From: Myles C. Maxfield <mmaxfield@apple.com>
Date: Thu, 30 Jul 2015 17:40:51 -0700
Cc: Alan Stearns <stearns@adobe.com>, www-style list <www-style@w3.org>, Ted O'Connor <eoconnor@apple.com>
Message-id: <82AE05F2-5407-4086-AAD1-F14E7018F321@apple.com>
To: John Daggett <jdaggett@mozilla.com>

> On Jul 30, 2015, at 5:09 PM, John Daggett <jdaggett@mozilla.com> wrote:
> Myles Maxfield wrote:
> > The font-synthesis CSS property is a way for authors to opt-out of
> > synthesized font traits such as bold or italics. It seems reasonable
> > to add small-caps to this set. Using "font-synthesis: small-caps;"
> > would specify that, if a small-caps font cannot be found, to use a
> > non-small-caps font without synthesizing smaller, capital, text.
> I think this would be possible to add but I wonder whether it's really
> necessary. What's your thinking behind wanting to add it? Outside of
> Firefox, fake small caps is what users always see when font-variant:
> small-caps is used. Fake bolding and obliquing may or may not be shown
> depending upon the font family.

WebKit supports this property as of r183494.

The fact that some UAs currently fake small-caps even when a proper
font exists is just a bug, and one which I would like to correct in WebKit.

> Alan Stearns wrote:
> > I like the idea of disallowing shrunken small caps, but font-synthesis
> > appears to be specified in the reverse of your usage:
> > “font-synthesis:weight;” allows smearing and “font-synthesis:none;” is
> > the setting to disallow it. That makes it difficult to add new
> > categories of synthesis blocking using that property.
> While theoretically this might have some merit, I don't really think
> this is an issue in practice. Changing the initial value doesn't change
> what user agents do currently, since by default all of these synthesized
> effects are allowed. Firefox is the only browser supporting this
> currently so it's not really in wide use. Tweaking the property
> definition isn't so hard. But I think question is do we really need this
> or not.

WebKit supports this property as of r183494, so this value affects what
WebKit does.

> In general I think it's best to avoid trying to support synthesized
> fallback effects for font feature properties. Effects should be
> explicitly opt-in rather than opt-out, which is what font-synthesis was
> set up to allow. So I don't see a big need to add more values to
> font-synthesis.

I disagree. Most users won't notice the difference between synthetic
qualities and true qualities. Most users will, however, notice the
difference between synthetic qualities and the absence of these

For the people (authors) who do notice the difference, font-synthesis
is for them.

> ​
Received on Friday, 31 July 2015 00:41:22 UTC

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