Re: glyph selection for Unicode in browsers

From: Kenneth Whistler (
Date: Thu Sep 26 2002 - 19:17:49 EDT

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    > 3) The language information used to be derived


    > from code page and is
    > missing with Unicode, and architecture needs to accomodate a better
    > model for bringing language to font selection.

    The archetypal situation is for CJK, and in particular J,
    where language choice correlates closely with typographical
    preferences, and where character encoding could, in turn,
    be correlated reliably with language choice.

    But in general, the connection does not hold, as for data
    in any of hundreds of different languages written in Code Page 1252,
    for example.

    What you are really looking for, I believe, is a way to
    specify typographical preference, which then can be used to
    drive auto-selection of fonts.

    I don't think we should head down the garden path of trying
    to tie typographical preference too closely to language identity,
    however we unknot that particular problem. This could get
    you into contrarian problems, where browsers (or other tools)
    start paying *too* much attention to language tags, and
    automatically (and mysteriously) override user preferences
    about the typographical preferences they expect for characters.

    What is needed, I believe, is:

      a. a way to establish typographic preferences
      b. a way to link typographical preference choices to
           fonts that would express them correctly
      c. a way to (optionally) associate a language with
           a typographical preference

    And this all should be done, of course, in such a way that
    default behavior is reasonable and undue burdens of understanding,
    font acquisition, installation, and such
    are not placed on end-users who simply want to read and print
    documents from the web.

    A tall order, I am sure. But as long as we are blue-skying about
    architecture for better solutions, I think it is important
    not to replace one broken model (code page = language) with
    another broken model (language = font preference).


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