From: Philippe Verdy (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue Jul 24 2007 - 14:58:51 CDT
John Hudson wrote:
> Philippe Verdy wrote:
> > See for example:
> > http://www.w3.org/Style/Examples/007/fonts.html
> > This should use the small-caps glyph variants defined in
> > fonts.
> It should, but it doesn't: at least, not in my Firefox browser. What is
> happening is that the uppercase character glyphs are being scaled down,
> rather than the properly proportioned smallcap variant glyphs in the font
> being used.
This is a reasonnable default behavior for browsers when they can't find
such variants in the currently selected font, or when the effective support
of such font feature is still missing in the renderer used by the browser.
The actual scaling behaviour may have several variants: one where the
capitals are just scaled down by adjusting the font size, the other by
scaling only the M-height down to the exposed x-height or some intermediate
value, and the average capital width down to the average lowercase letter
width (this generates better sizes). But artefacts will appear in both cases
due to the irregular stroke width which will be reduced too (even if hinting
is kept for enhancing the display at small sizes in such a way that strokes
will remain approximately equal, but this won't be the case for larger sizes
such as those used in titles).
The small-cap variant is still better when rendering texts, because it will
preserve the differences between lowercase and capital letters of the
original text (only the original lowercase letters should be presented in
small-cap variant, the uppercase letters should not be affected), and will
avoiding filling the M-height (the extra vertical blank space will
facilitate the reading of the capitals, notably in paragraphs like important
notices and warnings found in many software licences about the exclusion or
limitation of warranty; this is much less a problem for titles that are
usually short or whose layout already includes taller line-heights in
addition to the heading and trailing margins for the title paragraphs).
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