[thelist] Breaking away from "Standard" Fonts

Christian Heilmann codepo8 at gmail.com
Fri Mar 10 01:49:31 CST 2006

> > Am I the only one who is bored to tears with this request popping up
> > all the time?
> Maybe.
> All your points were valid. But pushing the envelope is how the web
> changes. Remember when you didn't have graphics in web pages because it
> was all text? No? Neither do I, 'cause the envelope was pushed a couple
> years before we got into web design and the graphical web was born.

I do actually, and I know people that still only know the web as a
text medium or can only listen to sites.

> I yearn for the day when I can efficiently embed fonts in my web pages.
> The more people who yearn for it, the sooner it'll happen.

And the sooner this will lead to security vulnerabilities and slower
sites as people _will_ embed that 450K TTF that looks so great. The
web document's content is yours, the display and what is possible on
the receiving end is just not yours to dictate.
You can use your own fonts, use Flash or script flash on the fly [1]
[2]. Hell, that even gives you font smoothing and zooming, something
that might not be turned on by default on the user's machine. I'd love
scalable graphics on the fly in my sites, but as SVG support is still
bad I need to use a plugin or HTML5/Canvas. There is a technology for
every need. Well, almost.

I yearn for a browser that gives me a warning message that the page it
is trying to show is invalid and the browser maker cannot be held
responsible for possible display glitches. That would make clients
aware that following standards is not "extra overhead". I also yearn
for a browser that by default allows me highlight parts of the page to
print out or one that stops phisihing attempts dead as my data is
being mucked about with in badly designed applications far too often.
Is that going to happen? Not likely. (yes, the MSIE 7 phishing filter
and browser makers agreeing to disallow hiding of URL bars is a step
in the right direction)

I'd also the next Windows Update to automatically remove any MSIE
below 7 (full) - if you make the browser a substantial part of the OS
why not being consequent with critical updates? I also want Mac Update
to do the same with MSIE and replace it with Safari or Camino. If we
were able to really work against the standards and use them to the
full extend most requests like these would be no problem at all.

> I have a thousand books; while some fonts are used over and over in
> print, I'm delighted that some books are actually *designed*, including
> a font that's just a bit out of the ordinary. The web should get there;
> I just hope it's soon.

But the web is so much more. How would you like a book where you can
choose the layout and the font? How would you like a book you can turn
a dial and make the font a lot bigger so a child that just learns
reading or your grandmother with the thick glasses can read it?

> And, yeah, I've used Papyrus on a website, because the owner liked it,
> and knew that, while it would display as the fallback position for
> visitors who didn't have the font, it looked expecially cool on his
> machine, and was happy to have it so.

That is the solution, as I said before. If the Person demanding a
special font to be used has it on his machine, then they will be none
the wiser that other people do not get it, but a readable fallback.

As for pushing the envelope: Restriction or forcing users to get what
you or your client considers great and the only right solution does
not push webdesign anywhere but back to the days where sites told you
to use another browser as this one is just not good enough for the
site. Embracing the diversity of user agents out there as a challenge
and making an interface customisable to users' needs does push it
further. See TV. Back in the days I had 3 channels in Black and White
to choose from, then I got millions of channels and now I can order
the movies I want to see when I want them. It is a natural progression
of a media.

[1] http://labs.macromedia.com/wiki/index.php/Flex_Framework:FABridge
[2] http://scriptio.us/

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