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

From: Carlos Villegas <>
Date: Thu Oct 20 2005 - 02:58:12 PDT

Sergey Groznyh wrote:
> [Sorry if this email appears twice]
> Broberg, Mats wrote:
>>2: The fact that XSL omit the support for fixed spaces troubles me. I'm
>>sure the members of the XSL working group are grand programmers, but the
>>fact that there is no support for fixed spaces reveals an alarming lack
>>of understanding of high-end typesetting and the tools, features and
>>functions a professional typesetter need to carry out his work.
>>Regretfully, the omission of support for fixed spaces is not the only
> Fixed spaces, in any sense of the word, is an anachronism. They were
> "fixed" in lead, but any modern tool has more convenient means to
> achieve the desired result. For XSL-FO, there are space-start and
> space-end attributes for inlines, for example. Any usages you provided
> for them (long number separation, comma separation etc.) could be best
> accomplished with exactly specified margins between inlines. This is
> the way to specify "typographic" conventions better than the font
> creator may have in mind when designed "thin", "hair", "1/17em" or other
> pre-defined fixed-width spaces.

I think the point is not whether there are better ways to specify them.
Someone has already posted a rather large stylesheet to convert these
Unicode characters to something that works in XSL-FO. The point is, if
these characters exist in Unicode (and I guess precisely for typesseting
purposes), why XSL-FO, being about typesetting, ignores them. (Or at
least is not clear how to handle them since they belong to the
white-space category in Unicode).

Quoting from the Unicode standard version 3.0 (the one I have):

"The fixed-width space characters (U+2000..U+200A) are derived from
conventional (hot lead) typography. Algorithmic kerning and
justification in computerized typography do not use these characters.
However, where they are used, as, for example, in typesetting
mathematical formulae, their width is generally font-specified, and they
typically do not expand during justification."

This to me means that if you don't need them don't use them, but if you
do, their suggested behaviour is as described above.


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Received on Thu Oct 20 03:27:13 2005

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