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Re: Fonts WG Charter feedback

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 1 Jul 2009 18:30:20 -0500
Message-ID: <dd0fbad0907011630i6fe4a8c7ufe0ac368413d80ca@mail.gmail.com>
To: Chris Wilson <Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com>
Cc: Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@opera.com>, Sylvain Galineau <sylvaing@microsoft.com>, "www-font@w3.org" <www-font@w3.org>
On Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 5:43 PM, Chris Wilson<Chris.Wilson@microsoft.com> wrote:
> Håkon Wium Lie wrote:
>>This time, we have four implementations, two of which have shipped
>>(Safari, Prince) and two that are close to shipping (Mozilla, Opera).
>>As such, it's a crucial phase for web fonts, and chartering a new WG
>>to do new technical work is disruptive to interoperability.
>
> Håkon, I've repeatedly told you over the last several years that I don't believe Microsoft will ever implement direct TTF/OTF linking.  You've had just over three years since you wrote your CNet article to try to get TTF/OTF adoption, and I don't think Microsoft or the font vendors are any closer to thinking it's a good idea.  Your only hope for interoperability in that case would be to drive Microsoft browser share low enough to be irrelevant; though I know you'd love that, too, I think we can all admit in the cold light of day that it's unlikely to happen, and certainly not in the next five years.  Chartering a working group to develop a format that font vendors can get behind, and we could all ultimately support in UAs, seems like a very smart thing to do at this junction.

So you are saying that TTF/OTF linking on IE is a complete
impossibility, even if there is *also* a webfonts format acceptable to
font foundries?

>>By making a new format, you increase the risk of format fragmentation.
>>If you have n formats and create a new format to replace the other
>>ones, you have n + 1 formats.
>
> Yes, but if you create one more format that EVERYONE can support, then you REDUCE the number of formats web developers have to deal with.  To precisely one.  Isn't that a good goal?

That's the dream!  Of course, right now we realistically have only two
formats that we're forced to use simultaneously*.  That's *almost* as
good as one.  Of those two, one is trivial for us authors to use, and
one is a small pain (not anything huge; certainly, I think, less of a
hassle than Referer checking or the like).  If we're going to cut that
down to one, I'd *prefer* a format that's no pain at all, because it
makes my life that much easier.

I mean, I can deploy raw TTF fonts right now in any browser using the
jQuery plugin I created, and it matches the functionality and
accessibility of Webfonts in 90% of the cases I have cause to use it
in.  Webfonts is honestly just moving the in-page code from JS to CSS,
and making it apply in slightly wider cases (there are several other
important benefits, such as supporting minority languages, but those
aren't relevant in *my* daily coding).

* I of course am aware that my expressed preferences are still for two
formats, but in my perfect world they are both supported and fit
different needs.  One is trivial and easy and takes zero effort (raw
TTF), while the other offers me some clear benefits while making at
least some of the foundries happy (compressed TTF, possible with
additional obfuscation).  It's also very possible that the latter
format comes to completely dominate webfonts, in which case we drop
back down to effectively only a single format, but in the meantime we
have the former format which works in most browsers (though not for
most *users*, but that's part of the beauty of CSS and graceful
degradation).

~TJ
Received on Wednesday, 1 July 2009 23:31:15 GMT

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