Re: Can browsers show text? I don't think so!

From: David Starner (
Date: Tue Jul 02 2002 - 17:50:27 EDT

At 03:39 PM 7/2/02 +0200, Michael Jansson wrote:
>Modern browsers know how to show the characters 'A'-'Z' and a few other
>characters as long as you don't expect to format the text with a specific
>font. You will get into trouble as soon as you want to use a font or
>characters from other languages. You may find a solution for some languages
>and some fonts on some platforms. Yet again, this is far from claiming that
>modern browsers can show text.

This is text. Changing fonts is just flash. And frankly, no modern browser has
any trouble with anything from Latin, Cyrillic, Greek, or CJK; Hebrew, Thai,
Arabic and any script that doesn't shape or combine is usually supported too.
I'd say they show text just fine.

>(I do not consider solutions where you have
>to download a 10MB+ language package to see a page in a foreign language.
>It's not a viable solution.)

So you'd rather download the fonts every time you want to view a page,
rather than just once? It's not like any one can't afford 10MB of space

>So what we have today are applications called "web browsers" that are very
>good at showing images, and animations. They are not very good at showing
>text, other than unformatted English text.

If you want to nitpick, they aren't that good at showing images;
look at how modern browsers fail the PNG transparency test one of these days.
And for most animations, you have to download 10MB+ plugins.

Every web browser since the beginning of time has supported at least bold,
italics and headings. And HTML has become a very common medium for formatted
text, and not just for English. Yes, they have failures in complex situations
that haven't had much work in them; no, not every font has or will have every
language in it. And if you want Adobe Acrobat, you know where to find it; web
browsing was never intended to give full control over fonts and display to
the creator of the documents; it was intended to give control over _meaning_.

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