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I am building a page that uses a pretty neat font, that is not standard on the vast majority of computers. I have been told that some large sites, like the New York Times also use custom fonts and the page somehow loads the custom font on to the user's computers.
So have I understood right? And what exactly is the procedure for loading a custom font to a web browser? Is this done through some html load, CSS or java scripts? I can't find any info.
If it's only that it's a pretty neat font and nothing more, I'd doubt the value of using a technique like SIFR (or anything else for that matter) that relies on a plugin the user may have disabled.
But this is just my opinion. You may have a very valid reason for doing it...
Now, if the download can be done silently without a user prompt, it would be even better.
Does such a technology exist? If it doesn't, sounds like a pretty good idea to me.
Thank you all
Now as a surfer, I would not download a font if you gave me the choice. I am happy surfing in Times or Verdana.
prompt the user and ask him if he wants to download the font
As monkeythumpa said above, it is extremely rare that you have the right to distribute the font - which is why the various attempts at getting such a system wo work have never been widely implemented.
Bear in mind that using a "fancy" font is often seen as a mark of unprofessionalism, and dependent on the font you choose, it can negatively impact usability and legibility.
Having said all that, you can use standard graceful degradation to show the preferred font to those who have it, followed by more a generic font choice for those that don't:
font-family:"MyWhizzyFont MS", "Lucida Sans Unicode", "Lucida Grande", Lucida, Verdana, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;
The user's browser will display using the first available font on the list, or a generic font if none are available (specify either sans-serif, serif, fantasy or monospace, whatever is the most appropriate).