Date: Sat Aug 14 2010 - 21:00:10 CDT
I have recently added some smart font technology to a fraktur font. It
was thanks to information I found in this list's archive that I was
able to do this. The font distinguishes required ligatures from other
ligatures. The required ligatures are the ones that behave like a
single letter when letterspacing is increased (ch, ck, ſt, tz) – the
other ligatures are the ones that break up into normal sequences of
letters when letterspacing is increased (for instance "fi" or "tt"
I have done some testing (see http://unifraktur.sourceforge.net/letterspacing.html
). The good news is that I found one browser that distinguishes
these two types of ligatures: Firefox (3.6) on Mac OS X (10.5).
However, the majority of browsers does not display any ligatures at
all. I was especially surprised that Safari failed to display any
ligatures even though the font uses AAT. I would have thought that
Apple's native browser would use AAT, Apple's native smart font
technology. Appearently it doesn't. Firefox on Mac OS X interprets
both AAT and OpenType ligatures. I wonder why Firefox is so
significantly ahead of other browsers in this respect.
For the cases where there must be no ligatures, I have resorted to the
ZWNJ. I have seen other fonts that use highly complex OpenType
conditions in order to automatize this (for instance Peter Wiegel's
font Schwaben Alt UNZ1A: http://www.peter-wiegel.de/Fonts/Schwaben-UNZ1A.zip
). These conditions really parse the words in order to find out
where inhibit ligatures. I doubt that a OpenType conditions are the
appropriate place for this. I wonder whether a hyphenation machine
would be more appropriate. A hyphenation machine already disposes of a
means of parsing words. So ideally – and hypothetically speaking –,
a single machine could not only fulfill the task of finding potential
hyphen slots, but also of inhibiting ligatures – instead of having
two separate, but very similar machines.
-- grüess mach
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