Writing Modes

A presentation at CSS Day 2017 + Browser API Special in in Amsterdam, Netherlands by Jen Simmons

The web was invented to display text in a left-to-right horizontal writing mode — the way English and other western European languages flow. But as Bruce Lawson says, WWW stands for the World Wide Web, not the Western Wealthy Web. It's more important now than ever to be inclusive and global in our thinking, and resist imperialistic and nationalistic impulses.

Of course, over time the web has evolved. Unicode and the bidirectional algorithm provide support for right-to-left languages. More recently, the CSS Writing Mode specification added support for scripts that are typeset vertically. This talk will go through the Writing Mode Specification, unpacking our landscape of CSS tools for typesetting a complex range of written language. You'll also learn tricks for using writing mode properties to typeset graphic design effects for horizontal languages.