Content from 2016-02


posted on 2016-02-16

When I started work on TBRSS (in 2013) it seemed like better web typography was just around the corner. CSS hyphenation, Knuth and Plass justification, legible text rendering – the future seemed bright.

Things have not gone that way. Support for typography in web browsers has stalled as browsers focus on becoming better platforms for mobile applications, rather than improving as vehicles for presenting documents.

(Not that the browsers are doing anything wrong; it’s just a letdown.)

Accordingly I’m removing JavaScript hyphenation support from TBRSS. Hyphenating in JavaScript works surprisingly well – using the Hypher library, and with careful use of caching, it can be made very fast. But it was never intended as more than a stopgap, and it represents needless complexity I am not, in the long term, willing to maintain.

Speaking of typography: I’ve also decided to stop serving a web font for the display of article text. Web fonts are fine, I think, for static content, or for dynamic content in a single language. But for dynamic content in multiple languages, they are probably too heavy. So from now on we will simply defer to the system’s serif.

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