Style linking was brought up in another discussion on variable fonts. I'm wondering what people expect in regard to style linking, and why it matters?
I assume what people mean by style linking is the pairing that is reflected by use of "B" and "I" buttons in app toolbars (or, Ctrl-B / Ctrl-I). Or is there something more that some have in mind I'm missing?
If that is what people have in mind, what's the significance for variable fonts?
Certainly, lots of variable fonts will have a weight axis, and so there's a question of whether bold style linking matters, whether linking between "Regular" (400) and "Bold" (700) is sufficient or if other pairings are desirable, ... What are people thinking?
For "italic", OpenType and CSS make a distinction between italic and slant/oblique, though in the past fonts and apps have conflated the two so that the "I" button could toggle between upright and oblique. In variable fonts, italics are most likely to be treated as a binary pairing, implemented in a separate font. But the OT spec doesn't rule out the possibility of some type designer coming up with a gradual and continuous transition between Roman and Italic (here, I don't mean slant). (On the other hand, CSS assumes italic is binary). With that in mind, what kinds of pairings matter?
And in either case, for whom does such pairing matter? The casual users of word processing apps (Word, Pages...)? Web developers? Users of Figma or In Design?