[webkit-dev] Stretchy Characters

Roland Steiner rolandsteiner at google.com
Tue Sep 8 22:17:43 PDT 2009

Hi Alex,

AFAIK, the approach of stacking special characters goes back to TeX, and you
even have special Unicode code points for this purpose (see
http://www.unicode.org/charts/PDF/U2300.pdf), so the approach at least has
broad consensus. ^_-

You're right however, that having the right font glyphs is essential.
Furthermore, e.g. TeX's MetaFont has several glyphs for the same bracket
part in different point sizes to absolutely get the layout and optical
weight right. The difference this makes is most noticeable on the parts that
make up a (square,etc.) root symbol.

However, since these are still only a handful of code points, I wonder if it
wouldn't be safer to have a special font consisting of only those glyphs
linked with WebKit directly, so you can be sure that they are available.



On Wed, Sep 9, 2009 at 9:08 AM, Alex Milowski <alex at milowski.org> wrote:

> I've been looking around to see how stretching of characters is handled in
> other typesetting systems.  I stumbled across this article about how
> Mozilla handles this:
>   http://www.mozilla.org/projects/mathml/fonts/encoding/
> They compose a single stretchy character (e.g a right curly brack { ) from
> a number of glyph components.  They have a mapping table that
> maps characters to glyphs in specialized fonts and then they stack
> these glyphs vertically as appropriate.
> Is this possible in WebKit's internals today?
> The end effect for Mozilla is that they have nice stretchy characters
> for Mathematics.  The consequence is that you need to have the right
> fonts or it just doesn't work.
> --
> --Alex Milowski
> "The excellence of grammar as a guide is proportional to the paucity of the
> inflexions, i.e. to the degree of analysis effected by the language
> considered."
> Bertrand Russell in a footnote of Principles of Mathematics
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