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

Re: [css-inline] Updated WD of CSS Inline Layout

From: Dave Cramer <dauwhe@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 22 Sep 2015 11:15:18 -0400
Message-ID: <CADxXqOx5Lv8WNY8NGXnCJO3cUc=C2K0ujZkP6NOxYeFpm5aSNw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Charles Lamont <charles@gateho.gotadsl.co.uk>
Cc: "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>
On Thu, Sep 17, 2015 at 9:09 PM, Charles Lamont <
charles@gateho.gotadsl.co.uk> wrote:

> On the 'initial-letter' property, I have previously made the case of
> wishing to give the flavour of journeyman letterpress printing, in which
> 'suboptimal alignment' may actually be a desired effect.
> I imagined few printers had type founts that exactly spanned the height
> of two-lines-of-text-plus-one-thickness-of-leading. So for two lines of
> 10-on-12pt text the ideal would be somewhere around 22pt, but the
> printer would only have had 18 and 24pt founts to chose the drop cap
> from. The 18pt character would have the same baseline as the second line
> of text, so its cap height would be below the cap height of the first line.

Let me try to understand your use case a little better. Does the resulting
font size of the initial letter need to be some common integer value,
exactly as if you only had a finite number of available sizes of metal
type? In your example, the font size for a three-line drop cap that aligns
properly would be around 42pt (for Adobe Caslon, anyway). If we assume the
hypothetical print shop had only 36pt and 48pt type available, would you
then want to use 36pt as the actual type size of the initial letter? And so
you would first have to calculate the size of the properly-aligned 3-line
drop cap, find the nearest available value, and then calculate the scaling
factor (36/42 * 3 = 2.57) so a 2.57-line initial letter?

> This case would appear to be approximated to by, for example
> 'initial-letter: 2.75 3'. I suggest this possibility would be made more
> evident if in one of the examples a non-integer <number> were employed for
> the
> first argument.

I'm reluctant to create such an example, as the motivation for this feature
was to make it possible to easily create properly-aligned initial letters.
We try not to add unnecessary restrictions to the specs, and are happy to
see creative use made of this freedom. I don't think this use case will be
common, however.

> Section 2.5 shows the calculation for an aligned drop initial (i.e. with
> equal size and sink). What would be the calculation when the arguments
> are not equal?

The actual font size for a 2.75-line drop cap should be 2.75/3 times the
result for a 3-line drop cap.

> If 'initial letter' could additionally take some more direct sizing
> argument, such as a percentage of the surrounding text size, the case
> would be better met and the "tricky" sizing calculation could in that
> instance be avoided.

This sounds like a different use case. Do you have a motivation for needing
an initial letter that is, for example, 350% of the surrounding text? We
are discussing other sizing options [1] but having more use cases would be
really helpful.

I'm not sure how the "tricky" sizing calculation in your original example
could be avoided. You could easily get a visual "not quite aligned" effect
with initial-letter: 2.75 3 without having to do any calculation. But if it
must be 2.57 and not 2.75, then it's hard to see how a simple sizing option
in the spec could help.

> Negative size values are not allowed. Is it OK that the size might be zero?

You can set the size to zero, but your readers may not like it :)



[1] https://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-style/2015Sep/0096.html
Received on Tuesday, 22 September 2015 15:15:46 UTC

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