RE: [xep-support] Support of special types of spaces

From: Broberg, Mats <>
Date: Wed Oct 19 2005 - 04:23:19 PDT

David Tolpin wrote:

> Why do you need fixed spaces for this purpose on the level of machine-
readable presentation markup instead of
> variable-length spaces, to which they were mapped?

Because fixed spaces should NEVER change width. That is the very reason
they exist.

> They didn't have a choice.

I think you are mixing up variable spaces and fixed spaces in metal
handsetting. In traditional metal handsetting both types of spaces did
(and do) exist. They put a fixed space in the examples I mentioned, and
put standard word spaces between the words UNTIL they got to the end of
the line. At that time they distributed minuscule thin spaces between
each word until the line was fully justified. Thus, the spaces between
words in traditional metal handsetting were never "fixed space" spaces.
So, they did have a choice. They used variable spacing between words to
get an even justification and hyphenation, and fixed spaces in the
examples I mentioned.

> Let your typesetters enter them as unicode characters, and
> transform them into leaders at the transformation stage.

Which is exactly what I was asking for in my O.P. Why not preserve the
fixed spaces that the typesetter inputs and output them as such, too?

> What is B42, please?

Gutenberg's 42-line bible. This and many other handset publications from
the early era of letterpress printing show variable spacing between
words. Actually, ANY book typeset from metal type (handset, Linotype, or
Monotype composition) that are composed in justified columns show
variable spacing between words.

Best regards,
Mats Broberg
Technical Documentation Manager

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Received on Wed Oct 19 04:47:41 2005

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