font selection was RE: JavaScript & Fonts

From: Tex Texin (
Date: Sun Nov 08 2009 - 22:40:41 CST

  • Next message: Doug Ewell: "Re: font selection was RE: JavaScript & Fonts"

    At some point, the allegation that a single font cannot support all of Unicode becomes irrelevant.
    It is fundamental to any system that it be capable of rendering the characters it claims to support.
    Font mapping and switching make this feasible, provided a suitable set of fonts exist.

    The burden should not be on applications (or their developers) to hunt around for fonts that can display their strings.
    This remains one of the significant problem areas for Unicode developers- to discover which fonts support the characters they need, which systems host those fonts by default, or to create delivery mechanisms to provide them, etc. Rendering should be the most basic function of any text system, and yet it is an enigma for more developers.

    As an advanced feature for those requiring or preferring to give special attention to how their text looks, of course it should be possible to look thru fonts and optimize results.

    However, that should not be the requirement. There should be a default font set on every platform (not necessarily the same on every platform) and enabling technology which ensures that valid characters are rendered, even if non-optimally.
    There should be a way to express (or to fall back to) a "just render it" font...
    That doesn't seem like a lot to ask.
    Html already has a way to express this with its generic font names.

    We have come a long way in that most platforms will render European and many popular Asian characters without special programming.
    However, we are long overdue making basic font support a requirement for any platform claiming to support for a set of languages in a Unicode framework.


    -----Original Message-----
    From: [] On Behalf Of Doug Ewell
    Sent: Sunday, November 08, 2009 7:10 PM
    To: Unicode Mailing List
    Subject: Re: JavaScript & Fonts

    This thread started with trying to find out whether a given font
    supported a given character, and morphed into a discussion about font
    embedding technologies and image scaling, which may not be the
    particular caves the original requester wanted to explore.

    I think it's clear that in the Unicode age, where it is a certainty that
    no one font can cover all assigned characters, it would be nice to have
    an API to tell whether a given character or string can be rendered in a
    given font, or to enumerate the available fonts in which it can be
    rendered. There's a CodeProject article to do something like this on
    .NET [1], but this capability should be available for Web developers as


    Doug Ewell  |  Thornton, Colorado, USA  |
    RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14  |  ietf-languages @ ­

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