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Metadata in WOFF fonts

From: Eric Muller <emuller@adobe.com>
Date: Tue, 3 Aug 2010 17:52:55 -0700
Message-ID: <4C58B9E7.7060807@adobe.com>
To: www-font@w3.org
I have reviewed the Working Draft 27 July 2010 of WOFF.

I have some concerns about the pieces of metadata which are meaningful 
for OT fonts in general and not only for WOFF fonts (for example, the 
licensee or the roles of the contributors). I am absolutely not judging 
whether those pieces are useful, but I would like to suggest that if 
they are, then they should be expressible in plain OT fonts, and they 
don't belong to WOFF.

Viewed another way, these pieces of metadata transforms WOFF from a 
*packaging method* into a full fledged *font format*. I don't think 
anybody is going to benefit from yet another font format. There are 
certainly immediate practical problems: if I print to PDF a web page 
that uses a WOFF font and embed the font, what I am supposed to do with 
the metadata? Drop it? But then, what was the point of including it in 
the first place?

The claim that WOFF does not force anybody to include or use the extra 
data does not invalidate my concerns.

If it is deemed that the extra data is worth it, then it ought to be a 
fairly trivial matter to convince the OT folks for the need of a new 
table to hold Metadata block. The format of that OT table could be 
exactly that proposed for WOFF.

The same applies to the private data block. There is ought to be as 
simple as adding to the OT spec something like: "the PRVT table is a 
block of arbitrary data, allowing font creators to include ...." (i.e. 
lift the text of section 7).

I understand that adding tables to OT would be a bit more work than just 
including them in WOFF (e.g. we would need to decide what to do with the 
font checksum and DSIG), but again, I don't see that as particularly 
difficult to address.

Thanks,
Eric.
Received on Wednesday, 4 August 2010 07:51:54 UTC

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