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Single quotes in font stacks?
Posted: 25 November 2010 02:40 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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Hi, folks:

From a first test of EoA, I’ve noticed that a number of the client simulations don’t seem to deal well with single quotes in font stacks, e.g.:

... style="font-family: Arial,'Helvetica Neue',Helvetica,sans-serif" ... 

This happens in:
Live Mail
Outlook 2003
Outlook Express
Thunderbird 2
Thunderbird 3
Windows Mail

In these clients, it essentially strips styles from subsequent elements. So I have a hunch that the single quotes are being treated as double quotes.

I know, both from experience and Litmus tests, that how the simulation renders the code is different from what actually happens.

So: Is this a known issue? Any workarounds?

Thanks in advance for any help/advice/comments smile

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Posted: 25 November 2010 03:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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Thanks Plasticle for this post, we’ll check into it ASAP.  Today is Thanksgiving in the States but you can expect to hear back within the next few days.

Cheers!

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Posted: 26 November 2010 05:45 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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Michelle, thanks for taking the time out of your holiday to reply. That’s beyond the call of duty; commendable stuff!

There’s no rush, really. Wish I’d stated that in my original post now, as I feel a bit guilty for dragging you away from the turkey :D

Hope you had a good one, anyway.


- Rich at Plasticle.

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Posted: 30 November 2010 04:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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You bring up a very interesting subject.  Essentially when you send out a screen capture email test, your email is getting opened by another server, that server may or may not have all the fonts in your stack installed.

I just ran a test and confirmed that quoted fonts are supported in

Gmail
Thunderbird2
Thunderbird3
Live Mail
Windows Mail
Outlook 2003
Outlook Express

Outlook 2007 and 2010 - Seem to only support the generic-family declaration (big surprise there)

I stopped there and concluded that as long as the font in question is on the local computer of it’s recipient, it will render properly in most email clients. 

This is actually a nice thing about our code-based previews.  We could also add a nifty little feature that would allow you to toggle forward and back through each of your font stacks.

Cheers Plasticle and thanks again for the post smile

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Posted: 30 November 2010 05:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Hi again, Michelle.

Thanks for the thorough reply. However, I’m not sure that I’ve conveyed the problem accurately enough, and I think there’s been some confusion.

I’m aware that the single-quoting of fonts is supported in the real-world clients we’ve both listed.

But this single-quoting doesn’t appear to be supported in the EoA simulations of these clients.

And by that I don’t mean that it’s not displaying the fonts I specify in single quotes. I mean that the single quotes themselves are causing non-realistic results in some simulations.

To make sure, I compiled a simple test e-mail and ran it through your Acid Tests.

—-

First up; how it should look, as illustrated by your AOL Web simulator [among others]:
http://www.plasticle.co.uk/test/eoa/Acid-Test_AOLWeb-CORRECT.gif


Secondly; how it rendered in your Live Mail simulator [among others]:
http://www.plasticle.co.uk/test/eoa/Acid-Test_LiveMail.gif


Not even the Thunderbird 3 simulation comes out looking too clever, either:
http://www.plasticle.co.uk/test/eoa/Acid-Test_Thunderbird3.gif

—-

So as you can see, some client simulations do NOT handle single quotes in font stacks in the way that they should.

Furthermore, they don’t even fall back to the generic-family types that I’ve declared at the end of the stack. Some render a sans-serif like Arial, while some others render in good old TNR. Neither of which is specified anywhere in the stack, directly or generically.

And this, sadly, is the potential game-breaker. If the simulations don’t replicate the real-world clients *exactly*, then what’s the point in using them?

I do hope I’ve conveyed the issue a bit better this time around. If I can’t do it with screenshots, then gawd help me :D

And to end on a more positive note, your font-stack toggling would be very neat indeed. How you’d achieve it I don’t know, but it’s a great idea smile

Thanks again,

- Rich at Plasticle.

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Posted: 30 November 2010 06:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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Oh, I ought to point out that the styling for that HTML test was all inline, with paragraph and h1 elements styled directly [as opposed to styling surrounding table cells].

I’ve been coding e-mails long enough to know that there’s no point doing it any other way!

- Rich at Plasticle.

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Posted: 30 November 2010 07:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Ah ha, thanks for posting an example of the code you are using smile

Here is what I tested in my original run-through:

<font style="font-family:'Aldine 401 BT',Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size:22px">
   
This is a font test
</font

Here is what I just tested based on your response:

<font style="font-family:Arial,'Helvetica Neue',Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size:22px">
   
This is a font test
</font

Here is what is happening.  For windows based clients, we highlight the Helvetica font family as an unsupported font.  But we are not taking into account the single quote nor the spaces in between your font name. So our test converted this:

Arial,'Helvetica Neue',Helvetica,sans-serif 

to this:

Arial Neue',sans-serif 

Which is obviously not good :/

It should convert to this:

Arial,'Helvetica Neue',sans-serif 

We will update our test results immediately to reflect the correction. Thanks very much for bringing this to our attention!

Oh and one more thing, we do offer code based previews and screen captures, this is to give our users complete flexibility because we completely agree, a test that is inaccurate is a complete waste of any developer’s time smile 

Here’s more on the pros and cons for each email preview approach:
Email Renderability Testing: Code Based Previews vs. Screen Captures

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Posted: 01 December 2010 01:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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Plasticle,

We have corrected this issue on our end.

Feel free to clear your browser cache and run the test again from your archive. 

Cheers and thanks again for your help and due diligence in reporting this!

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Posted: 06 December 2010 02:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Hugely impressive support and response, Michelle! Thank you smile

- Rich at Plasticle.

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