Italic Small Caps (+ MM font tool mutterings)

M.E. O'Neill
Mon, 1 May 2000 08:57:49 -0400

I wrote:
>> Which should it be [for italic small caps], `itsc' or `scit'?

Thierry Bouche wrote:
> whatever you want, as there are no standards at all. I heard that Alan
> Hoenig used `si'. If you have my minion metrics, you probably also have
> minion.sty where i say \let\scit\itsc, proving that i can't rememebr
> myself which i choosed...

Well, I would say that the members of these two mailing lists set the
de-facto standards.  If there is no standard right now, I'd propose that
we use itsc, mirroring the names used for fonts (e.g., MinionMM-It,
MinionMM-SC and MinionMM-ItSC).

(Unless there is a good reason to use a two-letter code, other than
saving people a couple of keystrokes.)

> But, as [italic small caps fonts are] out of nfss' scope (as are EC
> scsl fonts), probably no one will want to [add add italic small-caps
> support to \latinfamily]...

Well, maybe it's time for someone to overhaul NFSS?  [Not that I'm
volunteering: I like to steer clear of writing L@TeX inter@ls c@de.]

> Daniel Taupin found a workaround for \textsc{\emph{...}} by making small
> caps a family rather than a shape. People from the latex team said once
> that the proper `fix' would be to add a new nfss axis called `case'
> (making us rid of MakeUppercase troubles, etc.) but this was never
> implemented, afaik.

I think the obvious thing for NFSS is to see the font-shape attributes
as coming from a set -- that way you could make whether or not old-style
digits are used; or whether the font is artificially slanted or ``outline
style'' part of that set too. (You might even be able to encode other
attributes like underlining.)

> PS When using a MM font with design size axis, you're far away from
> anything latinfamily can handle anyway (a typical font name would be
> pmnrci7d12.afm !)

Actually, the TFMs I use have names like pmnrci8yc1095.tfm.  And, yes
they aren't made by \latinfamily; they aren't made by fontinst at all.
They're made on-the-fly by FontKit, my Perl-based tool that
generates metrics for multiple-master font instances.  (If you're
interested in the fun you can have with MM fonts and TeX, you could try
checking out <>).


P.S. I've been thinking of releasing my current code for FontKit. I had
hoped to clean up the code a little and make it a little less ad hoc
and a lot better documented, but I've been sitting on it for a couple
of years hoping I'd find time to do that (or better yet reimplement it
from scratch), and haven't.  Is anyone eager to see me release FontKit?
As it stands right now, it's actually fairly usable, at least if you're
using Minion, Kepler, Cronos, Myriad, Tekton, or Nueva (which happen to
be the MM fonts I have) and you don't have a problem using the LY1/TeXnANSI
encoding rather than the T1/Cork+TS1+8r/TexLatin1 encodings.