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A CSS feature I wish Lotus Notes rich text had

Mon 29 Jun 2009, 12:59 PM

by Ben Langhinrichs
Having worked extensively with Notes rich text for about fifteen years, with HTML for about ten years and with CSS for, what, eight years (I'm less sure of this), I have had lots of opportunities to compare the features in rich text and the features in HTML/CSS.  Some things have been easier in rich text; others have been easier in HTML/CSS.  Of course, the comparison has been made more difficult by frequent advances in each.  At this point, most things that can be accomplished in HTML/CSS can be accomplished in rich text in Notes 8/8.5, and vice-versa.  One simple, and seemingly minor,l feature which I have long missed in rich text is still missing in 8.5 and beyond.  That is the ability to have cascading fonts.

Imagine that I create a Notes rich text document with some text in Zombie, a font my son downloaded a while back.  For example, This text is in Zombie 14pt, which looks to me (and to you if you happen to have download Zombie yourself or had your son do you the favor), Inline GIF image.  Despite the decidely horrible impression this particular choice might make, it is the choice I made, but I can't force people to download the font themselves.  I could use an image, but that is very limited.

But what I can't do in Notes rich text but can do in CSS is determine what font to use if the font is NOT on the end user's system.  I wish I could.  In CSS, I could specify font-family: Zombie, Impact, serif; and the browser would first look for Zombie, and if not found it would look for Impact, and so on.  Since Impact is a good del more likely to be found than Zombie, at least on Windows systems, it would likely be used, but if not, at least some serif font would be used.  Here is the same text as above shown with this technique and passhru HTML: This text is in Zombie 14pt.  In Notes rich text, if the font wasn't found, it would likely drop to a Default Sans Serif font, which might be highly undesirable.

I think I first proposed this in an ND6 beta.  I guess I'll go propose it again, but here it is on IdeaJam as well:

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