Re: FW: Font-family specification

lilley (
Fri, 26 Jan 1996 18:47:29 +0000 (GMT)

Chris Wilson writes
> I sent this a couple days ago, but our mail service burped and ate it. :^(
> I'll try again.

Snap. We have a 24hour + lag on mail delivery this week, so sorry if
this reply is not timely or the issue is already resolved.

> I stated a while ago that I would like to see the font-family specification
> change from a whitespace-separated list, with spaces in font names changed
> to dashes, to a comma-separated list, with whitespace allowed in font family
> names.

I would also like to see spaces allowed in font names. This could be
done by choosing some character as a separator (such as the comma Chris
suggests) { font-family: new century schoolbook, serif }

or alternatively by quoting { font-family: 'new century schoolbook' serif }

My personal preference is for items in lists of alternatives (such as
fonts, colours, etc) to be delimited by something other than whitespace.

Using whitespace as a token, or in general making whitespace
significant, often seems to be a problem. Many of us will have
expreience of such problems while trying to produce valid HTML (oh, you
can't put a space or a line break *there*)

> 1) Commas are rarely if ever used in font names; spaces are widely used.
> Some of the most popular fonts on the Microsoft Windows platform (remember,
> it is the most popular OS out there) have spaces in their names (e.g.,
> "Times New Roman") - to force document authors to make this translation is,
> I believe, foolish. Although ideally all stylesheets will be authored by
> machine, not by hand, this is unrealistic in the short term.

I do not believe this is a platform issue. However, there are no font
faces on all the platforms (all X based) I have access to that use
commas in the file names. There are several examples with spaces.

> 4) Most importantly, spaces need to be preserved in font names for copyright
> reasons. This actually means the names need to be preserved completely, but
> I'm assured commas are not a problem. In a quick look at the 58 fonts
> installed on my system, none of them use commas, but only 14 of them do
> *NOT* use spaces in their names.

I will add another (not very strong) reason. On the X platform, hyphens
are used in font names, for example:

-adobe-new century schoolbook-bold-i-normal--20-140-100-100-p-111-iso8859-1

Chris Lilley, Technical Author and JISC representative to W3C 
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