Discussion:
text-decoration-skip-ink auto should continue past behavior - 30+ years of underline behavior changed by latest CSS draft
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Plumb-Larrick, C. Andrew
2018-02-22 13:48:12 UTC
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Okay. You don't like it. So set the property the way you want it on your sites or in a user stylesheet. In all your posts I haven't really seen an argument on the merits about this -- just about your preference (hey, that's what css directives are for!) And a sort of out-of-context caricature of the argument for bias against changing defaults.

My impression is that underlining is relatively rare in professional typography outside of the Web, where best-practices generally confine its usage to hyperlinks. (Otherwise, it is usually a substitute for italic, originally driven by the limitations of typewriters.) So I haven't been informed by the research into existing typographic practices that the committee has done, and that inform their draft. But I have no reason to doubt it. (I think *if* you have the germ of a good argument it would have something to do with this special case of link-marking calling for different behavior than normal typographic best practices.)

Because of this relatively limited use case for underline, I'm also relatively unconcerned about the outcome. On this side, noting only the need for an eye toward the concern (stated by others, not you) about some 'non-ink' underlines looking like two links. I think this is mostly unlikely to present an issue (such breaks will usually be within one word, and there are generally other link cues like hover colors, etc). But it IS a very useful point and highlights something for designers to attend to in the real world.

In light of what has been stated to be the research from underline usage in typography, I have no reason to doubt that the proposed default for this property is the correct choice on balance -- particularly in light of the vast overall improvement in browser typography support that we've seen.
CSS 2.x
Appendix E. Elaborate description of Stacking Contexts, E.2 Painting order
https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.w3.org_TR_CSS21_zindex.html-23painting-2Dorder&d=DwIBaQ&c=tlFs99Fl3Rlo51LXUBQcug&r=0EiowWGy_guXKQ942nOV_0QFgUOSiAEKMBr5Y0tPiuQ&m=B0nhn48Seuf1GHWxArlZvjOKALBdlREhQJTZvHZqMXY&s=gytdYYDs2_53Hn67SvI5jXLoOhMJUmYPGDwQlNuXu0M&e=
https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__www.w3.org_TR_CSS22_zindex.html-23painting-2Dorder&d=DwIBaQ&c=tlFs99Fl3Rlo51LXUBQcug&r=0EiowWGy_guXKQ942nOV_0QFgUOSiAEKMBr5Y0tPiuQ&m=B0nhn48Seuf1GHWxArlZvjOKALBdlREhQJTZvHZqMXY&s=OL5vxxfGrhDWlfbHlaFdrVIHBGnQYeVi7q1QgRtLzTs&e=
states that underline text-decoration is painted first and then glyphs are
painted. Therefore, glyphs with descenders (gjpqy) will paint over an
underline. Since underline and glyphs often use the same color, this will
give the visual impression that underline cut through descenders.
That sounds right! Not rendering the underline under or above (I'm
fine with either as long as the line isn't broken apart) certain
descending characters makes no sense and is inconsistent with how
underlined text has ALWAYS worked in the NORMAL world.



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fantasai
2018-02-28 04:06:07 UTC
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Post by Plumb-Larrick, C. Andrew
Okay. You don't like it. So set the property the way you want it on your sites or in a user stylesheet. In all your posts I
haven't really seen an argument on the merits about this -- just about your preference (hey, that's what css directives are
for!) And a sort of out-of-context caricature of the argument for bias against changing defaults.
My impression is that underlining is relatively rare in professional typography outside of the Web, where best-practices
generally confine its usage to hyperlinks. (Otherwise, it is usually a substitute for italic, originally driven by the
limitations of typewriters.) So I haven't been informed by the research into existing typographic practices that the committee
has done, and that inform their draft. But I have no reason to doubt it. (I think *if* you have the germ of a good argument it
would have something to do with this special case of link-marking calling for different behavior than normal typographic best
practices.)
Because of this relatively limited use case for underline, I'm also relatively unconcerned about the outcome. On this side,
noting only the need for an eye toward the concern (stated by others, not you) about some 'non-ink' underlines looking like
two links. I think this is mostly unlikely to present an issue (such breaks will usually be within one word, and there are
generally other link cues like hover colors, etc). But it IS a very useful point and highlights something for designers to
attend to in the real world.
In light of what has been stated to be the research from underline usage in typography, I have no reason to doubt that the
proposed default for this property is the correct choice on balance -- particularly in light of the vast overall improvement
in browser typography support that we've seen.
I think a related problem is also quality-of-implementation. If the browser skips
too far on either side of the descender, the resulting underline looks disjointed
and is harder to distinguish as an underline; the position of the underline affects
how badly the line is disrupted. Etc. There's a parallel thread about this on the
blink-dev mailing list right now.

The CSS specs currently leave these decisions up to the UA: it's allowed to skip,
but not required, and the details of the behavior are unspecified:
https://drafts.csswg.org/css-text-decor-3/#line-decoration

~fantasai

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