Replace ß by smallcap eszett or smallcap ss?



  • I circumvent this cumbersome glyph-substitution business, still, with regard to small caps. I do the small caps as a seperate font (yes the old-school way) because I like to keep things simple and straightforward. In the sc font, the position of lowercase ß gets a small cap ẞ glyph. That’s logical and no one complains.
  • Kent LewKent Lew Posts: 831
    Seems to me the whole reason this is an issue is because the small-cap mechanism in the OpenType Layout framework was conceived to operate outside of any text-level casing mechanisms, and so the type designer or font engineer is left with the task of deciding these casing rules, one way or another.

    This is why we have to worry about idiosyncrasies like Turkish dotted i and eszett in our {smcp} features.

    And that makes these small-cap casing choices font-specific, which is a bad place for them (as John has argued).

    If only a font had just the responsibility for mapping encoded uppercase forms to their corresponding small-cap variant, and any lowercase-uppercase case mapping were left to the text-processing engine to handle — according to localization or user-specifiable standards or whatever — then fluid situations like the eszett could be addressed in a much more responsive way.

    A {smcp} lookup is really a bad projectile for trying to hit a moving target like this, unfortunately.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,333
    If someone decides to use the cap eszett, they will be replacing two glyphs in their text string by one glyph, which is what the Ligatures features do, so it does seem practical and logical for this behaviour to be available in the Discretionary Ligatures feature—even though eszetts are single characters according to Unicode, and no other Ligatures outcomes produce single characters, AFAIK.

    And, as the basic text string remains two characters, it doesn’t break the golden rule of OpenType substitution.

    Also, using cap eszett is not really a stylistic decision, it has grammatical significance, rather like a ‘long s’ feature—and the only reason that goes in a Stylistic Set is because the correct Historical feature is not supported by layout applications.

    Therefore I agree with you Jasper, Discretionary Ligatures does seem to be the best practice.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,333
    edited January 2017
    But how would that work, would the glyph have to be named SS.dlig, rather than uni1E9E?
  • DLIG is full of weird stuff that people only want to use in very specific cases. I wouldn't want to switch that on just to get a proper ß.
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 1,333
    edited January 2017
    For this purpose <dlig> would be applied “manually” to selected text, i.e. just two letters SS.

    If it were “turned on” for an entire document via a style sheet, it would transform every instance of SS, and enact every other substitution in the feature as well, if there are any.

  • It does seem more practical to make the cap ß the standard, and create a stylistic set that makes it possible to replace all cap ß instances by SS. That way, a user wouldn't have to manually select each instance.

    But, and this is the downside, I have a feeling there are more oponents of the cap ß then of the replacement by SS. So there is a risk of losing some customers there.
  • It can't be that bad if the Duden as been using it on its cover...

    The only reason I can think of not to use the cap ß is if it's badly designed (e.g., not instantly readable or disharmonious with the other letters), which is unfortunately rather often the case. Luckily, this is a problem that type designers can freely address by themselves.  :smile:
Sign In or Register to comment.