Re: Fixed Width Spaces (was: Printing and Displaying DependentVowels)

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Thu Apr 01 2004 - 07:27:47 EST

  • Next message: Mark E. Shoulson: "Re: Doing Markup in Plain Text: A Modest Proposal for Planes 4-B of Unicode"

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Séamas Ó Brógáin" <>
    To: "Unicode-L" <>
    Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2004 1:24 PM
    Subject: Re: Fixed Width Spaces (was: Printing and Displaying DependentVowels)

    > Philippe Verdy wrote:
    > > Don't exagerate here: an author may wish to emphasize a semantic with
    > > a visual grouping of some related words, but this is left as a author
    > > decision i.e. part of the style he wishes to apply.
    > An author "may" wish to do so, but in practice they don't. And if they
    > did, their publisher would laugh at them.
    > > But you're wrong here, as you are judging from your knowledge of the
    > > Anglo-Saxon typographic tradition.
    > Wrong again, Philippe.
    > > There does exist some tradition of keeping the Roman number suffix
    > > attached to King names. Whever it is good or not this tradition exists
    > > in French typography . . .
    > I think this is simply not true. (The Imprimerie Nationale doesn't seem
    > to know about it.)

    Wrong also: I have had a specification and a RFE related to a product for which
    I worked in the past which included the support of transcoding and other
    facilities related to this support.

    This support was added in the product which is used by many printers in France.
    This is not a default behavior but the feature is available at will for
    rendering documents that authors want to style this way. This rendering engine
    has a programmable API and customizable stylesheets that allows a publishers to
    use such feature (among others) in a way that can be automated for the
    production of very large texts (aggregated from various sources), notably in
    guides, technical publications, and newspapers...

    All these features however are not needed at the plain text level, but in the
    final SGML texts before they get flowed automatically within a "chemin de fer"
    layout. Many such presentation features need to be supported automatically
    because it would be a too heavy and costly task to add such style manually in
    large publications like dictionnaries and diaries, or frequent ones like daily
    newspapers (which must be flowed in just a few minutes after the text elements
    that can be sold and added in a database constantly during the day).

    The production cycle of such publications is heavily contrained by time and
    limited humane resources, and as well by the very low commercial margins for the
    placement of such contents (notably since a few years where the communication
    sectors has suffered a lot from the incresed price of paper, and the reduced
    advertizing markets). Due to that erosion of the communication market (notably
    in France where this market is also under a very complex legal system for
    billings and commissionning), automated tools are needed. If we had no automated
    solutions that allow using computerized character properties, the "chemin de
    fer" would need to be closed sooner to allow manual corrections, and this would
    reduce the commercial margins or the adaptation of the contents in a high
    competition context.

    The "Imprimerie Nationale" does not have so strong limitations for its
    publications, but it has still adopted the same tools that were developed
    primarily for publishers of newspapers and guides, and then updated for the
    publishers of weekly magazines which can adopt less rigid presentations with
    more layout freedom (but also exposed to the same erosion of the advertizing
    market, and under the same legal constraints for billing and commissioning of
    advertizing agencies).

    And today even this "public service" needs to work with the same methods as its
    many competing private publishers, that have very low beneficial margins (Havas
    Advertizing, which had in the past more than 80% of the advertizing market in
    papers has now sold almost all its "régies" to the newspapers and magazines for
    which it provided service for selling paid advertizing, and left papers with
    outdated production and billing tools that had to be replaced). And all papers
    and magazines want to improve the quality of their publications by using
    automated tools that reduce the production cycle timeframe, its cost, but still
    allow them to have distinctive look and feels.

    Now that these tools can support more features than the antique past computer
    programs which were developed in the 70's, old typographic conventions are being
    renewed and allowed by softwares, and used as a way to attract readers and

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu Apr 01 2004 - 08:07:47 EST