Re: External Link arrow

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Mon Jan 09 2006 - 19:33:31 CST

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    From: "Asmus Freytag" <>
    > On 1/9/2006 8:54 AM, Markus Scherer wrote:
    >>What would a character achieve here that a tiny graphic (with alt text
    >>like "external") can't?
    > Just to mention,
    > 1) you would be able to cut/paste this information more reliably
    > 2) you would be able to search for it
    > 3) you would be able to scale the symbol with the text
    > ...
    >>Its look and feel would still depend on the (font) designer,

    I still wonder why HTML/CSS still does not offer the way for an image object to inherit the scaling/alignment/coloring attributes from the textual context. It would be convenient for scalable graphics (like SVG, also specified by W3) that should also be embeddable directly within XHTML (for example by linking the <img> object to the id of an SVG whose definition could be anywhere in the XHTML file, with its appropriate namespace).

    It would be also convenient because it would not require preinstalling some fonts to support some characters needed sometimes on rare occasions. Also, is there now a recognized SVG-based XML font format (possibly with hinting instructions with open specifications)? Such format could later be rebuilt into a compact OpenType font format if needed (however wellknown compression algorithms like ZIP with deflate or the newer bz2 and 7z algorithms may probably be enough).

    The "external link arrow" for example can be easily created as a tiny SVG graphic, with just two small XML elements (including the path element) plus the namespace declarations in the root element. Having websites crippled with somany external images reduces the display performance (due to extra download time for the client and extra requests to process forthe webserver). For such symbols, embedding the SVG would not cost a lot of space. But with inheritance of text attributes, their use would be eased.

    Alternatively, one could design a CSS stylesheet that embeds or references the graphic and that integrates it in a custom font, mapping it to some codepoint, directly usable in standard text with standard font-family selection.

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