[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: lynx-dev Re: justification+hyphenation

From: Wes Leatherock
Subject: Re: lynx-dev Re: justification+hyphenation
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 1999 21:27:52 -0500 (CDT)

     While I would not claim by any stretch of the imagination
to be an expert on Lynx, I happen to have worked on newspapers
and other printed publications for many years and even could
handset type as well as set hot type on a Linotype and Intertype
linecasting machine.  Indeed, I remember when Teletypesetters
came in, a mechanical device with a mechanical solution to
typesetting and justification, and it was consider a great
advance in mechanization.

     There were no algorithms then except in the capable
human brain of the typesetter.  And they had to fit with
the realities of the real world, then actually constraints
of steel (literally), now similar constraints which still
have to be accomodated.

     There has been a tendency in newspapers to go to
wider columns, to avoid some of the problems mentioned.
But of course the idea of an "equal-spaced font" did not
exist in the days of hot type, except in fonts specifically
designed to emulate typewritten materials.  All of them
were what are now called "variable-spaced fonts," with
different letters being different widths...the handset
type was actually of different widths of metal; the
linecasting machines used brass matrices from which
the lines were cast by lead, and most ingenious
mechanical contrivances the linecasting machines were.
The brass matrices were of different widths for
different letters, too, so the lines of lead type had
the letters cast in different widths.

> > This is a column
> > of text that ex-
> > actly  fits  the
> > width but  every
> > once in a  while
> > a  single   word
> > s t r e c h e s
> > out like that.
> When there are one or two words in such a narrow column it 
> seems that the newspapers' algorithms fail and try to fill a
> column with one or two stretched words.

      I challenge you, with any human adjustment or any
algorithm, to justify "s t r e c h e s" [sic] in this
example, without letterspacing.  A column is of a specific
size.  Certainly typesetters tried and still try to avoid
such undesirable outcomes, but while in books there is
more time to possibly change a few words so this does not
happen, on a daily multi-edition newspaper time to do this
is a luxury that rarely exists. 

     As to different American and British rules for
hyphenation, I have not noticed any difficulty in reading
British newspapers.  Most algorithms for hyphenation are
far from perfect; a look-up table with every word helps,
but there will always be names, foreign words, and other
exceptions that either have to be decided by human beings
or done by an algorithm that was imperfect to start with
and is generally not suitable at all for that purpose.

Wes Leatherock

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]