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Last Call Working Draft published by W3C for CSS Fonts

 5:49 pm on Jul 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

CSS Fonts Module Level 3 [w3.org] (Last Call, July 11)
This CSS3 module describes how font properties are specified and how font resources are loaded dynamically.

This is good stuff. More font support is a very good thing for the web, especially as more and more non-web media is transplanted.



 9:22 pm on Jul 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

I look forward to a future where site designers routinely embed 200K fonts in a 40K page :( (My own "Fonts" library currently contains 612 items. This may be excessive. Sorting by size gives a median of about 100K. The biggest ones are the CJK families; but second-biggest are the ones with major unicode support.)

I wish this part could be shown in huge red type:

@font-face {
font-family: MyGentium;
src: local(Gentium), /* use locally available Gentium */
url(Gentium.ttf); /* otherwise, download it */

That is: let the visitors use their own version of the font if they've got it, rather than downloading a massive file they don't need. w3 probably picked the name "Gentium" out of a hat -- but on my system, it's a pair of 1.6MB files (Italic and Roman). Brr.

More font support is a very good thing for the web

Insert boilerplate about browsers-which-shall-remain-nameless that only learned how to do font substitution the week before last-- and still don't really understand it.


 9:34 pm on Jul 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

It just amazes me that everything else has come so far, but fonts are stuck ages ago, at a time when we had five to choose from.


 11:26 pm on Jul 17, 2013 (gmt 0)

I can't remember that far back ;) Even my first Mac had, I dunno, a couple dozen?-- promptly supplemented with a clutch of third-party legacy fonts, including a couple I designed myself because that's what you had to do in 1993.

What I can remember is conversations with the administrator of an unrelated forum where he'd consistently say "your font" as if I only had the one. And I've finally stopped including the UTF-8 boilerplate in the HTML version of ebooks, after establishing that MSIE >5 can read the "charset" declaration.


 10:13 pm on Jul 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

I don't know about fonts. Got mixed feelings.

+ sure it's better to do download a font and then use it over a graphic substitution in many places on a site
- but is it worth it to download it just for one title ? for one logo ?
+ sure if gives more control to the designers
- but if it becomes usable (IE .. ) then won't it be abused to no end ?

And then there's the big one:

I've a license of font X on my computer, I can use it in adobe illustrator to do print work for a customer, no problem. It'll even embed what's needed in the pdf's I upload to a digital printer (not the device, the company that does high volume stuff).
But Oh, use that same font that's part of my customer's identity in a web page: ah no the license prohibits that use ...
Oh I can get around it if I pay a per use fee to a third party rendering the website dependent on some shady 3rd party being around, depending on javascript to make it work, and slowing down the whole thing even more than the technology as such already does.

So, for now: it's a long list of fonts in the font-family. no downloadable fonts even not in browsers that are smart enough.


 12:48 am on Jul 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

+ sure it's better to do download a font and then use it over a graphic substitution in many places on a site
- but is it worth it to download it just for one title ? for one logo ?

That's EXACTLY the decision a good designer has to make. On my art studio's site I use graphics-as-text for almost everything except body text. Few people visit more than two or three pages (it's a tiny site whose audience is mainly people who know us in person), so the filesize of an embedded font would be more than the filesizes of the separate image files. And given the nature of the site, I really don't think I have to worry about visitors with images turned off-- though the alt and title attributes are duly populated all the same.

Conversely, one directory of my personal site uses an embedded font for the headers. There are tons of pages so I would never have taken the time to make all those image files-- but each page includes a big jpg that's already bigger than the font. Or, at least, bigger than one of the two font files. w3 is silent about whether UAs should download all forms in a batch, or wait and see whether a particular page actually requires italic along with plain.

My embedded fonts are essentially crippleware. Make a copy in a font editor which, ahem, I paid for and delete everything that can never occur in a header. That means at least half of the Latin-1 range (I keep lower-case letters just in case, but dump capitals), everything in higher ranges except curly quotes and similar essential punctuation, and even some ASCII. (How often do you use angle brackets <> in a header? carets? ASCII tilde? backslash?)

I do this mainly so the download is kept to a reasonable size. But it also means that the user can't grab the font and use it for their own purposes, because there are too many missing pieces.

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