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Sender: Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
From: Lars Hellström <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2001 12:53:11 +0100
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Reply-To: Mailing list for the LaTeX3 project <[log in to unmask]>
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At 10.18 +0100 2001-02-13, Roozbeh Pournader wrote:
>Javier explained the idea somehow. I'm going into complete explanation
>here. Please ask for clarification if there are ambiguities.
>In Persian, we usually do not have the three classic families. In Iran,
>there is rarely a need for typewriter style, that's only used for Latin
>texts, and in the case they really need to show Persian on the screen,
>they use screenshots. Also, I know only three non-bitmap typewriter fonts,
>and the only almost-free one is MS Courier. I use one of the other two
>when writing a manual, but I'm among the few who use such a thing.

But that's not the NFSS, is it? The NFSS is the classification and
selection of fonts using the encoding/family/series/shape/size model,
\rmfamily and friends belong to a higher level of font selection. (I've
called it the "author level" in some previous mail long ago.)

I have suggested that the mapping from the author level to the NFSS level
should be templated. It is quite possible that one should use a different
template for Persian than for latin. In any way the mapping as it is done
today is far too rigid; the FDs should be allowed to influence what the
selected values for the NFSS attributes finally become (e.g. for fonts
without a bx series, \bfseries should choose the b series; today that kind
of thing is accomplished by substitutions when mapping NFSS specifications
to TFM names).

>We also do not have equivalents of serif and sans-serif, there are fonts
>that have few details, using simple curves. They are usually called
>"Traffic"-like ("Traffic" is a font family itself, so that's somehow
>like saying "helvetica"-like, and is usually used for text on traffic
>signs). But we can't classify them according to this, because there is a
>spectrum between traffic for example, and things like "Lotus" and
>"Linotron" that are equivalents of serif fonts and are used widely for
>normal text.
>In the absense of that model, designers choose some families (for
>a mathematical book, I've seen from as few as one, to as many as six or
>seven), and specify that this heading or that caption should come out as
>in this family and that shape and size.

I can't really see that this is much different from what happens for latin
fonts. The "three families" model is very much influenced by what is exists
within Computer Modern, but most font designs only contain a family of one
of the three kinds.

>Also, there's no "bx" (only "b"),

Again, that's the influence of CM. Some latin font families only exist in
one or two series (usually m and b), for others there are dozens of series.

>there's no "sc" (no replacement),

Now we get to the real differences, but not having a certain shape is no
catastrophe. Very few latin fonts have a ui shape (yes, there are LaTeX
kernel commands selecting this shape), but people seem to cope anyway.

>usually there's no "it". Designers like to use real italics (known as
>"iranic" here, because they tend to left instead of right), but only a
>few families also have an italic companion with them (they are usually
>considered different families by vendors here, and there is "Azin" and
>"Iranic Azin" for example). Because of this, sometimes people use an
>Iranic font from one family, and an upright font from another. BTW, people
>have forgotten that there exist real italics, and use slanted and
>backslanted fonts (with the name of "iranic" when it tends to left, and
>"italic" when it tends to left).

This could use some clarification. Is iranic like the latin italic but
leaning the other way (negative italic slant)? (Please confirm or correct.)
Could one say that cmff is an iranic font? As for being distinct families,
how are the iranic/italic fonts used? For emphasizing, like italic, or for

>Because of this lack of option, outline and shaded-outline shapes are used
>much more in technical books, sometimes together with slanted and
>backslanted. The model that is used in available Persian software,
>modeled from how designers think, is something like this:
>family        weight             shape
>------        ------             -----
>normal        medium             upright
>italics       bold               slanted
>some others   outline            backslanted
>              shaded-outline

NFSS classifies outline as a shape, and thus shaded-outline should be a
shape as well. IMO the list of standardized shape names for NFSS is much
too short, which is probably an important reason why people seem to be fond
of declaring several NFSS families for what is really fonts from the same
family that differ in shape.

Lars Hellström