Web Fonts Future Looks Better

  • Bigwebmaster
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Post 3+ Months Ago

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It’s no secret that fonts on the web suck. The problem is that, in order to use a font on the web, the actual font file must exist on the user’s computer. Given that restriction, and all the variations between operating systems, designers end up with about five or six fonts that are universal enough to use in web design.

It makes for a pretty limited typeface palette. There is, however, a potential solution on the horizon. CSS provides an @font-face declaration which can be used to point to a regular TrueType or OpenType font file that lives somewhere on a web server. Safari supports @font-face, Firefox 3.1 (the alpha of which will be public soon) will as well, and Opera is planning to include it in a future release.


http://www.webmonkey.com/blog/The_Futur ... g_Brighter

This was an interesting read. For the most part I have been happy with the limited choices for fonts for regular reading, however, when it comes to titles, headers, etc sometimes it would be nice to have other fonts to make things a bit fancier. Usually to do that I have always done it graphically such as with the Ozzu Logo. However, when it comes to dynamic text such as article titles, thread titles, page titles, etc, I have always stuck with the limited choice of fonts because it would be too much work to always do them graphically -- and then if you ever needed to change a title it would be a pain. On top of all that its not the greatest idea with regards to SEO.

In the future though if all browsers support the @font-face method to dynamically load fonts from the server that could make it much more convenient.

If you read this:

http://www.alistapart.com/articles/dynatext/

They have come up with an interesting idea to use a PHP script and Javascript to deliver a dynamic PNG image to your browser whenever asked for. This would allow you for instance to write text for all of your headers and titles like you normally do, but your script would automatically use the desired font and convert it to an image for you on the fly. Here is a quote from their page:

Quote:
Text styling is the dull headache of web design. There are only a handful of fonts that are universally available, and sophisticated graphical effects are next to impossible using only standard CSS and HTML. Sticking with the traditional typefaces is smart for body text, but when it comes to our headings — short, attention-grabbing blocks of text — it would be nice to have some choice in the matter. We’ve become accustomed to this problem and we cope with it either by making the most of the few fonts we have, or by entirely replacing our heading-text with images.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

  • joebert
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Internet Explorer better not *#$% this up.

What happens to the fonts once they're sent to the computer, are they permenantly stored there or are they like images and get deleted with the cache ?

How long will it take for premium font makers to cry foul if fonts get saved to the users computer and propagated ?

Will webmasters be required to purchase licenses to use fonts via @font-face since they're essentually distributing the font ?
  • righteous_trespasser
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Post 3+ Months Ago

joebert wrote:
Internet Explorer better not *#$% this up.

Ditto.
  • Bogey
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Post 3+ Months Ago

that is awesome! I hope that It would be widely supported... wide enough to be able to use it and know that people would see it :D
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Post 3+ Months Ago

This post was helpful, I do hope that people will support this one, its a little eye sore when see our fonts changes when accessing our website when using different computer.
  • gonzoka
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I think this is an interesting point, and I look forward to the browsers supporting the CSS declaration, however we'll still have the issue of backwards compatability (think of the number of IE6 users that remain).

Bigwebmaster wrote:
If you read this:

http://www.alistapart.com/articles/dynatext/

They have come up with an interesting idea to use a PHP script and Javascript to deliver a dynamic PNG image to your browser whenever asked for. This would allow you for instance to write text for all of your headers and titles like you normally do, but your script would automatically use the desired font and convert it to an image for you on the fly.


However, this article is 4 years old, and things *have* progressed a little since then. You can use a nifty little thing called sIFR - http://www.novemberborn.net:2543/sifr. This is a flash/JS based unobtrusive, search engine friendly way of producing selectable text in various fonts for header text. You just need to embed the font you want in the flash file (and there are free programs available to do this), and add a simple line or 2 of javascript :)
  • digitalMedia
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Ah, to dream the impossible dream. It seems like this subject, or something close to it, is a perennial favorite.
  • graphixboy
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I think I remember seeing that Safari 3x supports the @font-face method. http://www.css3.info/webkit-has-web-fonts-support/

Might be worth giving it a try so we can see if this is a worth while solution or if its just going to cause extra head aches. Although I'm with gonzoka, sIFR is a great alternative for most anything other than body copy.
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Post 3+ Months Ago

One reason I've been fond of Flash is the ability to embed fonts. This is encouraging for standard coded pages though.
  • Tiki
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Post 3+ Months Ago

joebert wrote:
Internet Explorer better not *#$% this up.

Too Late :)
  • jbladeus
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Post 3+ Months Ago

The biggest winners from this will be the font forges (with the end user coming at a distant second) and the losers like always will be the web developers who will have yet another complication to deal with in their already miserable lives.
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Anyone know how big filesize-wise the average TTF or similar font file is ?

For some reason I'm thinking they're a few hundered KB.
  • Bigwebmaster
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Post 3+ Months Ago

I would say more around 20-50 KB.
  • joebert
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Post 3+ Months Ago

Well that's not so bad. It would be like including a single image that can be displayed an infinate number of ways.

We might have to re-evaluate the worth of a picture, 1000 words might be a little small.
  • gonzoka
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Post 3+ Months Ago

There's an interesting, and very recent article on this subject at http://www.sitepoint.com/blogs/2008/07/30/custom-web-fonts-pick-your-poison/
  • Bogey
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Post 3+ Months Ago

gonzoka wrote:
There's an interesting, and very recent article on this subject at http://www.sitepoint.com/blogs/2008/07/30/custom-web-fonts-pick-your-poison/

That was very interesting. Thanks for posting.

The EOT and the font face at thing sounds kind of exciting and considering IE was the one to create the EOT thing... it will have support for such thing, but the code to do it may be different then Mozilla's... which would mean more code for web designers/programmers.

PHP would be simple to use to solve it, but then, not every host supports PHP and not everyone knows PHP.

This may seem weird... maybe every other browser would go to EOT? I doubt IE would go away from EOT...
  • dyfrin
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Post 3+ Months Ago

EOT is fine as long as there are free EOT converters.
I already use @font-face (with commercial fonts) on some personal use sites, and really don't see the issue.

The analogy of it compared to photos and office are very different.

Fonts like Photos:
You purchase a photo to use on your site from the photographer. There is absolutely NO way to prevent that photo from being captured by a viewer. You trust that they will not reuse your pics on your page, unless you make it downloadable.

Fonts like Office:
You buy Word and make a document out of it for your site. Unfortunately .docx isn't readable by web so it is downloaded on the client and they cannot open it, so either they buy it, or you link an executable to run it.

I can see fonts being like both examples. It is hard to decide.

Using @font-face doesn't prompt a dialog box that says "Install Segoe Print?" when you access a page like some of the articles declare.
So if people are wanting that font, are they going to check the CSS pages and get the source document? Why when googling torrent fonts and you get any you want.
Point: They are already "available" to people who are "techy" enough to try to get them off your site.
  • natas
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Post 3+ Months Ago

So I just read that @font-face doesnt work in I.E. is there a workaround for this... I hate to completely ignore Internet Explorer users...
  • Bogey
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Post 3+ Months Ago

natas wrote:
So I just read that @font-face doesnt work in I.E. is there a workaround for this... I hate to completely ignore Internet Explorer users...

Bah! They need to get smarter. But there is one... I just need to find it.

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