Chengcheng Hou; Daniel Gamage; Mika Busante; Skylar Challand
The web has never been a place for perfectionism. Typesetting in particular has been a long-neglected facet of web design because we’ve lacked the tools to give long texts the editorial care they need. In print media, text ragging is an established practice to help this, but up to now there have been no tools on the web to do this. We built Mechanical Ragger to give designers some peace of mind; it tidies line endings so that long paragraphs will feel natural to read, and users won’t have to strain to read them.
Mechanical Ragger brings this print concept to the web, improving the appearance of text blocks by removing these significant gaps and alternating line lengths to enhance the rhythm of the paragraph. To do this, it adds shapes to every other line in a paragraph, causing text to wrap around it. Domain: https://oakstudios.github.io/mechanical-ragger/
Typesetting is about more than just the shape of the text, though. There are a few related considerations to keep in mind when ragging:
—Avoid repeating words or shapes at the end of each line in a paragraph. —Avoid breaking too many words, which can make readability worse. —Advanced typesetting is complex and contextual, requiring a human touch.
While the mechanical ragger is a useful aid, we call it mechanical for a reason, and content must be written accordingly.
Mechanical Ragger is open-source, on GitHub and as an NPM module. Contributions to add new features and more platform support for the Mechanical Ragger are always welcome.