[css-fonts] "system" generic font name

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[css-fonts] "system" generic font name

Myles C. Maxfield
TL;DR: Apple proposes adding a new generic font-family named "system".

Hello,

It's valuable for web authors to be able to make sites that fit in with native platforms without having to write lots of complicated, redundant CSS. One case where this is hard right now is matching platforms’ system UI fonts.

CSS describes a collection of “generic” font families. We propose adding a new generic font family, “system,” which will be backed by whichever font is the native UI font of the platform running the browser. Specifically, we are proposing that this new generic font family be platform-specific, and not browser-specific, so the same browser running on different operating systems will implement this generic font family differently.

WebKit currently implements a similar notion with the “-apple-system” font family, but we feel that a more general approach is valuable to web authors. In particular, web authors shouldn’t have to list anything specific to each platform they are targeting in their font fallback list. Instead, a single generic font family should just do the right thing. This is why we are proposing a prefixless value.

What are your thoughts?

Myles C. Maxfield
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Re: [css-fonts] "system" generic font name

Gérard Talbot-2
Le 2015-07-14 17:14, Myles C. Maxfield a écrit :

> TL;DR: Apple proposes adding a new generic font-family named "system".
>
> Hello,
>
> It's valuable for web authors to be able to make sites that fit in
> with native platforms without having to write lots of complicated,
> redundant CSS. One case where this is hard right now is matching
> platforms’ system UI fonts.
>
> CSS describes a collection of “generic” font families. We propose
> adding a new generic font family, “system,” which will be backed by
> whichever font is the native UI font of the platform running the
> browser. Specifically, we are proposing that this new generic font
> family be platform-specific, and not browser-specific, so the same
> browser running on different operating systems will implement this
> generic font family differently.
>
> WebKit currently implements a similar notion with the “-apple-system”
> font family, but we feel that a more general approach is valuable to
> web authors. In particular, web authors shouldn’t have to list
> anything specific to each platform they are targeting in their font
> fallback list. Instead, a single generic font family should just do
> the right thing. This is why we are proposing a prefixless value.
>
> What are your thoughts?
>
> Myles C. Maxfield

Myles,

isn't that already the case? By not defining any font-family in a
webpage, the browser has to use the browser default font-family.... and
the browser default font-family is by default the platform's default
font face.

Eg.

Under Linux Ubuntu, the default is DejaVu Sans font face. And so, unless
the user resets its browser default font family, the browser (eg
Firefox) default font family will also be DejaVu Sans.

> web authors to be able to make sites that fit in
> with native platforms without having to write lots of complicated,
> redundant CSS.

One easy, simple and efficient way to make sites that fit in with native
platform is to not try to set a font family.

Gérard

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Re: [css-fonts] "system" generic font name

Felix Miata-2
In reply to this post by Myles C. Maxfield
Myles C. Maxfield composed on 2015-07-14 14:14 (UTC-0700):

> TL;DR: Apple proposes adding a new generic font-family named "system".

> It's valuable for web authors to be able to make sites that fit in with
> native platforms without having to write lots of complicated, redundant
> CSS. One case where this is hard right now is matching platforms’ system
> UI fonts.
>
> CSS describes a collection of “generic” font families. We propose
> adding a new generic font family, “system,” which will be backed by
> whichever font is the native UI font of the platform running the browser.
> Specifically, we are proposing that this new generic font family be
> platform-specific, and not browser-specific, so the same browser running
> on different operating systems will implement this generic font family
> differently.

> WebKit currently implements a similar notion with the “-apple-system”
> font family, but we feel that a more general approach is valuable to web
> authors. In particular, web authors shouldn’t have to list anything
> specific to each platform they are targeting in their font fallback list.
> Instead, a single generic font family should just do the right thing. This
> is why we are proposing a prefixless value.

> What are your thoughts?

Wouldn't your "system" be equivalent to or duplicative of one or more of the
6 existing "system" fonts on http://www.w3.org/TR/css3-fonts/#font-prop ,
e.g. menu?
--
"The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant
words are persuasive." Proverbs 16:21 (New Living Translation)

 Team OS/2 ** Reg. Linux User #211409 ** a11y rocks!

Felix Miata  ***  http://fm.no-ip.com/

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Re: [css-fonts] "system" generic font name

Edward O'Connor-2
In reply to this post by Gérard Talbot-2
Hi Gérard,

You wrote:

> isn't that already the case? By not defining any font-family in a
> webpage, the browser has to use the browser default font-family....
> and the browser default font-family is by default the platform's
> default font face.

No. Offhand, I don't think any browser's default font family is the
default system UI font. The "system" family is the font used on the
system for buttons and menus and things, not the font used for large
amounts of text in apps on the system.

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Re: [css-fonts] "system" generic font name

Michiel Bijl
In reply to this post by Gérard Talbot-2
On 14 Jul 2015, at 23:40, Gérard Talbot <[hidden email]> wrote:
isn't that already the case?

Not on all platforms; Safari on OS X defaults to—Times if I’m not mistaken—a serif font.

—Michiel

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Re: [css-fonts] "system" generic font name

Henrik Andersson
In reply to this post by Myles C. Maxfield
Myles C. Maxfield skrev:

> TL;DR: Apple proposes adding a new generic font-family named "system".
>
> Hello,
>
> It's valuable for web authors to be able to make sites that fit in with native platforms without having to write lots of complicated, redundant CSS. One case where this is hard right now is matching platforms’ system UI fonts.
>
> CSS describes a collection of “generic” font families. We propose adding a new generic font family, “system,” which will be backed by whichever font is the native UI font of the platform running the browser. Specifically, we are proposing that this new generic font family be platform-specific, and not browser-specific, so the same browser running on different operating systems will implement this generic font family differently.
>
> WebKit currently implements a similar notion with the “-apple-system” font family, but we feel that a more general approach is valuable to web authors. In particular, web authors shouldn’t have to list anything specific to each platform they are targeting in their font fallback list. Instead, a single generic font family should just do the right thing. This is why we are proposing a prefixless value.
>
> What are your thoughts?
>
> Myles C. Maxfield
>
>
This would be horribly ambiguous. Many, many, many, systems have more
than one font.

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Re: [css-fonts] "system" generic font name

Dean Jackson-7
In reply to this post by Gérard Talbot-2

> On 15 Jul 2015, at 7:40 AM, Gérard Talbot <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Le 2015-07-14 17:14, Myles C. Maxfield a écrit :
>> TL;DR: Apple proposes adding a new generic font-family named "system".
>> Hello,
>> It's valuable for web authors to be able to make sites that fit in
>> with native platforms without having to write lots of complicated,
>> redundant CSS. One case where this is hard right now is matching
>> platforms’ system UI fonts.
>> CSS describes a collection of “generic” font families. We propose
>> adding a new generic font family, “system,” which will be backed by
>> whichever font is the native UI font of the platform running the
>> browser. Specifically, we are proposing that this new generic font
>> family be platform-specific, and not browser-specific, so the same
>> browser running on different operating systems will implement this
>> generic font family differently.
>> WebKit currently implements a similar notion with the “-apple-system”
>> font family, but we feel that a more general approach is valuable to
>> web authors. In particular, web authors shouldn’t have to list
>> anything specific to each platform they are targeting in their font
>> fallback list. Instead, a single generic font family should just do
>> the right thing. This is why we are proposing a prefixless value.
>> What are your thoughts?
>> Myles C. Maxfield
>
> Myles,
>
> isn't that already the case? By not defining any font-family in a webpage, the browser has to use the browser default font-family.... and the browser default font-family is by default the platform's default font face.

The browser default font-family is not necessarily the platform's default font face. Note that Myles mentioned UI font. i.e. the font used for the system controls. On most platforms that is a sans serif font. Meanwhile, in most browsers the default font is a serif.

Dean

>
> Eg.
>
> Under Linux Ubuntu, the default is DejaVu Sans font face. And so, unless the user resets its browser default font family, the browser (eg Firefox) default font family will also be DejaVu Sans.
>
>> web authors to be able to make sites that fit in
>> with native platforms without having to write lots of complicated,
>> redundant CSS.
>
> One easy, simple and efficient way to make sites that fit in with native platform is to not try to set a font family.
>
> Gérard
>


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Re: [css-fonts] "system" generic font name

Dean Jackson-7
In reply to this post by Felix Miata-2

> On 15 Jul 2015, at 7:42 AM, Felix Miata <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Wouldn't your "system" be equivalent to or duplicative of one or more of the
> 6 existing "system" fonts on http://www.w3.org/TR/css3-fonts/#font-prop ,
> e.g. menu?

This whole thing is weird. It makes specifying fallback font-families strange - you now move them to the font shorthand.

Even though you can then override size/weight/etc after the shorthand, it seems yucky that you have to use a shorthand just to get what is effectively a font-family.

Dean


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Re: [css-fonts] "system" generic font name

L. David Baron
In reply to this post by Felix Miata-2
On Tuesday 2015-07-14 17:42 -0400, Felix Miata wrote:
> Wouldn't your "system" be equivalent to or duplicative of one or more of the
> 6 existing "system" fonts on http://www.w3.org/TR/css3-fonts/#font-prop ,
> e.g. menu?

It's also worth noting that these system fonts set all of the
subproperties of the font property, so that you get not only the
family of the system font, but also the size, weight, style, etc.,
which could then be individually overridden (or not) by the
longhands.

I could certainly believe that the current list of system fonts
there doesn't make sense in today's world; Gecko has long
implemented an additional list [1] that were prefixed versions of
ones in earlier drafts of css3-ui [2], but have since been removed,
and some of these were widely used in the Firefox UI and in our UA
style sheets for form controls and for XUL.

These have been implemented in Gecko since its early history,
although in a reasonably conformant way only since 2007 [3].

-David

[1] -moz-window, -moz-document, -moz-workspace, -moz-desktop,
    -moz-info, -moz-dialog, -moz-button, -moz-pull-down-menu,
    -moz-list, -moz-field
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/2004/CR-css3-ui-20040511/#system0
[3] https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=377947

--
𝄞   L. David Baron                         http://dbaron.org/   𝄂
𝄢   Mozilla                          https://www.mozilla.org/   𝄂
             Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
             What I was walling in or walling out,
             And to whom I was like to give offense.
               - Robert Frost, Mending Wall (1914)

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Re: [css-fonts] "system" generic font name

Dean Jackson-7
In reply to this post by Henrik Andersson

> On 15 Jul 2015, at 8:06 AM, Henrik Andersson <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Myles C. Maxfield skrev:
>> TL;DR: Apple proposes adding a new generic font-family named "system".
>>
>> Hello,
>>
>> It's valuable for web authors to be able to make sites that fit in with native platforms without having to write lots of complicated, redundant CSS. One case where this is hard right now is matching platforms’ system UI fonts.
>>
>> CSS describes a collection of “generic” font families. We propose adding a new generic font family, “system,” which will be backed by whichever font is the native UI font of the platform running the browser. Specifically, we are proposing that this new generic font family be platform-specific, and not browser-specific, so the same browser running on different operating systems will implement this generic font family differently.
>>
>> WebKit currently implements a similar notion with the “-apple-system” font family, but we feel that a more general approach is valuable to web authors. In particular, web authors shouldn’t have to list anything specific to each platform they are targeting in their font fallback list. Instead, a single generic font family should just do the right thing. This is why we are proposing a prefixless value.
>>
>> What are your thoughts?
>>
>> Myles C. Maxfield
>>
>>
> This would be horribly ambiguous. Many, many, many, systems have more
> than one font.

Do they have more than one UI font family?

FWIW, we currently have "-apple-system". During internal discussions, I suggested keeping this name around in case someone wanted to only use the system font on Apple systems because they did not like the system font on other systems, where they would provide a fallback.

e.g. font-family: -apple-system, MyCustomFontThatILikeBetterThanEverythingElse;

But we figured this was a pretty small edge case, and that it would require other vendors to implement "-apple-system" for their browsers on Apple systems.

So "system" as a font-family seems like a pretty good compromise. It seems this will cover Android (Roboto) and Debian (DejaVu Sans). Does Windows use a different family for different types of controls? Other platforms?

Dean


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Re: [css-fonts] "system" generic font name

Michiel Bijl
System for Windows should equal “Segoe UI”. Not sure about Windows Phone.

—Michiel

On 15 Jul 2015, at 00:32, Dean Jackson <[hidden email]> wrote:


On 15 Jul 2015, at 8:06 AM, Henrik Andersson <[hidden email]> wrote:

Myles C. Maxfield skrev:
TL;DR: Apple proposes adding a new generic font-family named "system".

Hello,

It's valuable for web authors to be able to make sites that fit in with native platforms without having to write lots of complicated, redundant CSS. One case where this is hard right now is matching platforms’ system UI fonts.

CSS describes a collection of “generic” font families. We propose adding a new generic font family, “system,” which will be backed by whichever font is the native UI font of the platform running the browser. Specifically, we are proposing that this new generic font family be platform-specific, and not browser-specific, so the same browser running on different operating systems will implement this generic font family differently.

WebKit currently implements a similar notion with the “-apple-system” font family, but we feel that a more general approach is valuable to web authors. In particular, web authors shouldn’t have to list anything specific to each platform they are targeting in their font fallback list. Instead, a single generic font family should just do the right thing. This is why we are proposing a prefixless value.

What are your thoughts?

Myles C. Maxfield


This would be horribly ambiguous. Many, many, many, systems have more
than one font.

Do they have more than one UI font family?

FWIW, we currently have "-apple-system". During internal discussions, I suggested keeping this name around in case someone wanted to only use the system font on Apple systems because they did not like the system font on other systems, where they would provide a fallback.

e.g. font-family: -apple-system, MyCustomFontThatILikeBetterThanEverythingElse;

But we figured this was a pretty small edge case, and that it would require other vendors to implement "-apple-system" for their browsers on Apple systems.

So "system" as a font-family seems like a pretty good compromise. It seems this will cover Android (Roboto) and Debian (DejaVu Sans). Does Windows use a different family for different types of controls? Other platforms?

Dean



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Re: [css-fonts] "system" generic font name

Robert O'Callahan-3
In reply to this post by Dean Jackson-7
On Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 10:24 AM, Dean Jackson <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On 15 Jul 2015, at 7:42 AM, Felix Miata <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Wouldn't your "system" be equivalent to or duplicative of one or more of the
> 6 existing "system" fonts on http://www.w3.org/TR/css3-fonts/#font-prop ,
> e.g. menu?

This whole thing is weird. It makes specifying fallback font-families strange - you now move them to the font shorthand.
Even though you can then override size/weight/etc after the shorthand, it seems yucky that you have to use a shorthand just to get what is effectively a font-family.

Per David's email, don't you also need a way to set font size/weight etc to values that match system usage? And isn't the 'font' property the best way to do this?

Rob
--
lbir ye,ea yer.tnietoehr  rdn rdsme,anea lurpr  edna e hnysnenh hhe uresyf toD
selthor  stor  edna  siewaoeodm  or v sstvr  esBa  kbvted,t rdsme,aoreseoouoto
o l euetiuruewFa  kbn e hnystoivateweh uresyf tulsa rehr  rdm  or rnea lurpr  
.a war hsrer holsa rodvted,t  nenh hneireseoouot.tniesiewaoeivatewt sstvr  esn
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Re: [css-fonts] "system" generic font name

Dean Jackson-7

On 15 Jul 2015, at 8:47 AM, Robert O'Callahan <[hidden email]> wrote:

On Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 10:24 AM, Dean Jackson <[hidden email]> wrote:
> On 15 Jul 2015, at 7:42 AM, Felix Miata <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Wouldn't your "system" be equivalent to or duplicative of one or more of the
> 6 existing "system" fonts on http://www.w3.org/TR/css3-fonts/#font-prop ,
> e.g. menu?

This whole thing is weird. It makes specifying fallback font-families strange - you now move them to the font shorthand.
Even though you can then override size/weight/etc after the shorthand, it seems yucky that you have to use a shorthand just to get what is effectively a font-family.

Per David's email, don't you also need a way to set font size/weight etc to values that match system usage? And isn't the 'font' property the best way to do this?

Not at this point. Or, more accurately, not with this proposal. We just want to match the family.

Aside: on iOS we do have similar font keywords like your -mozilla-foo. For example, -apple-system-headline1, which provides a family, weight, style, size, etc. These also dynamically respond to what the user chooses in their accessibility settings. We're not talking about those in this proposal.

Dean
--
gobbledygook gobbledygook gobbledygook gobbledygook gobbledygook gobbledygook gobbledygook gobbledygook



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Re: [css-fonts] "system" generic font name

Felix Miata-2
In reply to this post by Dean Jackson-7
Dean Jackson composed on 2015-07-15 08:32 (UTC+1000):

>> Henrik Andersson wrote:

>> This would be horribly ambiguous. Many, many, many, systems have more
>> than one font.

> Do they have more than one UI font family?

> FWIW, we currently have "-apple-system". During internal discussions, I
> suggested keeping this name around in case someone wanted to only use the
> system font on Apple systems because they did not like the system font on
> other systems, where they would provide a fallback.

> e.g. font-family: -apple-system,
> MyCustomFontThatILikeBetterThanEverythingElse;

> But we figured this was a pretty small edge case, and that it would
> require other vendors to implement "-apple-system" for their browsers on
> Apple systems.

Maybe the better goal would be user's favorite font, by whatever name could
be determined. I'd certainly like to see more of my favorite without having
to disable all author choice of fonts on web pages. With "System" already in
use in the spec for font shorthand, it would seem a poor choice for any other
usage.

> So "system" as a font-family seems like a pretty good compromise. It seems
> this will cover Android (Roboto) and Debian (DejaVu Sans). Does Windows
> use a different family for different types of controls? Other platforms?

In IE11 on Win7 there seems to be only one on
http://fm.no-ip.com/Auth/Font/fonts-system.html though small-caption does
seem to be slightly smaller at 96 DPI at least. All x86 Linux distros I've
tried the page on with Geckos and KHTML use the same family for all 6 CSS
system fonts.
--
"The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant
words are persuasive." Proverbs 16:21 (New Living Translation)

 Team OS/2 ** Reg. Linux User #211409 ** a11y rocks!

Felix Miata  ***  http://fm.no-ip.com/

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Re: [css-fonts] "system" generic font name

Dean Jackson-7
Hi Felix,

> On 15 Jul 2015, at 9:01 AM, Felix Miata <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Maybe the better goal would be user's favorite font, by whatever name could
> be determined. I'd certainly like to see more of my favorite without having
> to disable all author choice of fonts on web pages.

Sure, but isn't that a general problem? I'm not sure what it has to do with this proposal.

> With "System" already in
> use in the spec for font shorthand, it would seem a poor choice for any other
> usage.

I don't understand. "system" isn't in the font shorthand. Those weird keywords that no one uses are referred to as system fonts, but that's all.

Dean


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Re: [css-fonts] "system" generic font name

Felix Miata-2
In reply to this post by Dean Jackson-7
Dean Jackson composed on 2015-07-15 08:54 (UTC+1000):

> We just want to match the family.

Why? If you want to match family, why not match everything, getting maximum
A11Y/U7Y in the process, by simply not overriding users' settings using any
font styling at all? Why not assume the UI family is the same family as the
browser content default, as often happens anyway? Lighter weight, simpler,
everybody wins except those too lazy or ignorant to change a default they
don't like!
--
"The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant
words are persuasive." Proverbs 16:21 (New Living Translation)

 Team OS/2 ** Reg. Linux User #211409 ** a11y rocks!

Felix Miata  ***  http://fm.no-ip.com/

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Re: [css-fonts] "system" generic font name

Michiel Bijl
On 15 Jul 2015, at 01:24, Felix Miata <[hidden email]> wrote:

We just want to match the family.

Why?

There are plenty of cases where you’d just want the family; when one uses a front-end framework like Bootstrap, update an existing web app to use the system UI font, etc.

—Michiel
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Re: [css-fonts] "system" generic font name

Dean Jackson-7
In reply to this post by Felix Miata-2

> On 15 Jul 2015, at 9:24 AM, Felix Miata <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Dean Jackson composed on 2015-07-15 08:54 (UTC+1000):
>
>> We just want to match the family.
>
> Why?

Michiel answered this very well.

> If you want to match family, why not match everything

Exactly because you don't want to match everything.

> , getting maximum
> A11Y/U7Y in the process, by simply not overriding users' settings using any
> font styling at all? Why not assume the UI family is the same family as the
> browser content default, as often happens anyway?

Haven't the answers here already shown this to be false?

Load this URL data:text/html,hello

It is definitely not the system UI font family on OS X, iOS, or Windows. I don't know about Android. (Note: it seems IE/Edge doesn't allow data urls in the address bar, so you'll have to put an HTML file somewhere).

Dean

> Lighter weight, simpler,
> everybody wins except those too lazy or ignorant to change a default they
> don't like!
> --
> "The wise are known for their understanding, and pleasant
> words are persuasive." Proverbs 16:21 (New Living Translation)
>
> Team OS/2 ** Reg. Linux User #211409 ** a11y rocks!
>
> Felix Miata  ***  http://fm.no-ip.com/
>


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Re: [css-fonts] "system" generic font name

Bobby Tung
In reply to this post by Myles C. Maxfield
From a Chinese front-end/ebook designer’s view, that’s a great proposal, especially for desktop OS at the moment.

Apple recently added new Chinese UI font “PingFang” in OS 10.11 and iOS 9, there’s huge works to be done to fit the change. On mobile devices, it might be unnecessary for now because usually only one Chinese system font, so sans-serif is capable for select system UI font. But I believe its for now, mobile OS may have more fonts in the future, and as I know some Android manufacturers already added their own font as system UI font.

But about the name, maybe “system-ui” is better than “system” to fit the definition?


Bobby Tung
W3C invited expert
Chinese Layout Task Force Co-chair



> Myles C. Maxfield <[hidden email]> 於 2015年7月15日 上午5:14 寫道:
>
> TL;DR: Apple proposes adding a new generic font-family named "system".
>
> Hello,
>
> It's valuable for web authors to be able to make sites that fit in with native platforms without having to write lots of complicated, redundant CSS. One case where this is hard right now is matching platforms’ system UI fonts.
>
> CSS describes a collection of “generic” font families. We propose adding a new generic font family, “system,” which will be backed by whichever font is the native UI font of the platform running the browser. Specifically, we are proposing that this new generic font family be platform-specific, and not browser-specific, so the same browser running on different operating systems will implement this generic font family differently.
>
> WebKit currently implements a similar notion with the “-apple-system” font family, but we feel that a more general approach is valuable to web authors. In particular, web authors shouldn’t have to list anything specific to each platform they are targeting in their font fallback list. Instead, a single generic font family should just do the right thing. This is why we are proposing a prefixless value.
>
> What are your thoughts?
>
> Myles C. Maxfield


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Re: [css-fonts] "system" generic font name

Sebastian Zartner-3
In reply to this post by Dean Jackson-7
On 15 July 2015 at 00:54, Dean Jackson <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> On 15 Jul 2015, at 8:47 AM, Robert O'Callahan <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> On Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 10:24 AM, Dean Jackson <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>
>> > On 15 Jul 2015, at 7:42 AM, Felix Miata <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> >
>> > Wouldn't your "system" be equivalent to or duplicative of one or more of
>> > the
>> > 6 existing "system" fonts on http://www.w3.org/TR/css3-fonts/#font-prop
>> > ,
>> > e.g. menu?
>>
>> This whole thing is weird. It makes specifying fallback font-families
>> strange - you now move them to the font shorthand.
>>
>> Even though you can then override size/weight/etc after the shorthand, it
>> seems yucky that you have to use a shorthand just to get what is effectively
>> a font-family.
>
>
> Per David's email, don't you also need a way to set font size/weight etc to
> values that match system usage? And isn't the 'font' property the best way
> to do this?
>
>
> Not at this point. Or, more accurately, not with this proposal. We just want
> to match the family.

FWIW that would be easily doable by allowing to set the new keyword on
the other longhands like font-size, font-weight, font-style, etc.

Sebastian

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