[thelist] Breaking away from "Standard" Fonts

Christian Heilmann codepo8 at gmail.com
Fri Mar 10 18:11:06 CST 2006

> This is much the same as the images argument in the days of yore.[...]
> If embedded fonts were to become a reality, you can be sure that
> browsers (good ones anyway) would allow the user to disable downloading
> embedded fonts.  Authors (good ones anyway) would have a fallback
> strategy in that event.

Aye, there's the solution. Right now it is not that way though. Hence
the big discussion. Joel talks about the future, I talk about the now.
We need 1.21 Gigawatts on the font embedding, then all will be fine.
Great Scott!

> >>I wasn't advocating the egregious misuse of these technologies we often
> >>see today,
> > Your answer is called SVG or HTML5 Canvas. Or, hey, Flash! You can
> > have your texts in XML and create both HTML and Flash or SVG from the
> > same document.
> Christian are you saying that in order to have control over typestyle,
> an author should put their entire site in Flash?  I know Flash has come
> a long way toward accessibility, but I'd be surprised that such an
> accessibility advocate would say that.  Or, was it intended sardonically? :)

No, not really. I'd rather have a flash version and an optional HTML
version with the same content than an HTML version that expects a lot
from the user's setup or might download a lot of content that the user
cannot use. Some of the sites I had to deliver in my day job over the
last years were the only way you can at least get a bit of
accessibility in by offering an HTML fallback and showing the client
that way that there are a lot of leads coming from that instead of the
Flash-only solution. If you generate/feed your flash from the same XML
it does not generate any maintenance overhead. I tried this with
McDonalds UK, and it worked quite OK given that the content is very
marketing driven.

So, if you want to use a font in body copy, nay - if you want to
ensure that every user gets a certain font in body copy and not
possibly a fallback font face - then you either

a) Use a bespoke thing like WEFT or Bitstream's TrueDoc (which both
regularily crashed my old laptop)
b) generate the text as an image using GD, ImageMagick or alikes and
give it the same alternative text (possibly via longdesc)
c) use flash or generate flash with an html version fallback

The latter at least makes the text zoomable if flash is available.

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