Things Still Missing From CSS

Molly Holzschlag wrote a great article for .Net Magazine outlining seven things still missing from CSS. She gets into web fonts on #5, which is my favorite. I particularly liked this point:

Fine control remains elusive – kerning, character spacing – controlling these aspects are both difficult to specify for numerous reasons. This is frustrating to designers who love typography and want to have that finer control.

Huzzah! I couldn’t agree more. As web designers, now that our type options have drastically expanded, we want the same level of control over them that print designers do. That includes kerning as well as more interesting & intricate typographic arrangements. The key here is specificity. If we can target letters and words with CSS the sky is the limit. For further reading here are some posts that my friends and I have written on the topic:

One interesting potential issue with finer control could be what happens if we target specific letters or words on a multi-lingual site. Something as detailed as this might make no sense, or break visually in another language. This was a point Christian Heilmann raised last summer at ConvergeSE, and something I don’t yet have a good answer for.

Overall, I think that the fewer situations where web designers have to resort to image replacement for text the better.

4 Responses

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  • Chris Mousdale

    Totally agree, we’re slowly getting there. It’d be great to have indesign level of control. Also have you seen kerning.js? http://endtwist.github.com/kerning.js/

  • Trent

    @Chris Mousdale: I sure have! It’s got some pretty interesting features (like pairings) cooked in.

  • Olivier G.

    Hi Trent,
    I also find that there’s a lot of things missing from CSS. For example, I’ve never understood why there was a property :first-letter but no opportunity to stylize other letter selectors. Lettering.js & Kerning.js inspired me jKerny (http://clearideaz.com/jkerny/) who provides other pseudo-selectors I would like to see in a future CSS specification.

  • Derryl

    These :nth-everything selectors would be great – although I think that a “print level of control” is still some ways off in the future

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