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RE: Embedding fonts

From: Chris Wilson <cwilso@MICROSOFT.com>
Date: Mon, 11 May 1998 15:00:12 -0700
Message-ID: <C35556591D34D111BB5600805F1961B90508FFD1@red-msg-47.dns.microsoft.com>
To: "'Todd Fahrner'" <todd@lowbrow.com>, www-style@w3.org
Cc: www-font@w3.org
> Todd Fahrner [SMTP:todd@lowbrow.com] wrote:
>Microsoft has implemented support for "OpenType" fonts, recognizable by the
>.eot extension. Netscape has implemented support for "TrueDoc" fonts,
>recognizable by the .pfr extension.

Quite close - what Internet Explorer implements is actually "Embedded
OpenType" (hence the _E_ot extension).  This is essentially a compressed,
possibly subsetted OpenType font, but is not directly an OpenType font
(i.e., you can't just drop an EOT file into your windows\fonts directory).

BTW, IE's downloadable font implementation is a strict subset of what CSS2
defines for Fonts.  We didn't pick that syntax randomly - it came straight
from the WebFonts Working Draft (http://www.w3.org/TR/WD-font), which both
Microsoft and Bitstream had a hand in developing.  (Todd, I know that you
know this; this was for others' benefit.)

>I haven't heard anything to suggest that Netscape will be supporting
>OpenType anytime soon. However, TrueDoc is now usable in Internet Explorer
>through an ActiveX control.[1] How do you and your readers like ActiveX?
>You have to embed the control in the HTML of every page you want to use
>TrueDoc in - can't specify it in the stylesheet and have done.

This is indeed true, and is not an optimal solution.  I applaud the efforts
of Bitstream's developers, though, in figuring out how to do this in IE
anyway.

>Technical and political issues aside (and there are many), I like TrueDoc
>better from a designer's POV because it does not limit me to what will
>always be a comparatively small set of well-hinted OpenType/TrueType fonts,
>and because I despise the way these fonts have arbitrary, hard-coded
>point-size ranges at which anti-aliasing may not occur. 
>...
>Truedoc fonts get anti-aliasing at all sizes. Some people don't like this.
>I think this is because they have become inured to the coarse bitmappy look
>through years of primitive technological conditioning, or just haven't
>spent enough time with really high-quality anti-aliased body copy. It can
>take months for typographical famine victims to be able to digest solid
>food again, and see real letterforms through the pixelly fuzz.

The argument for this hard-coded limit was readability, not love of coarse
bitmappy look.  :^)

Todd, you fail to mention two of the main drawbacks of the TrueDoc format -
1) it throws away all hinting and auto-hints the font - some people say they
can see the difference, and 2) the last time I looked, the TrueDoc recorder
doesn't pay any attention to the font license information, e.g. the bit in
the font that says, "you're not allowed to embed this."  Our OpenType
embedding does; if the typographer has a restrictive license, you will not
be able to embed it.  Designers need to realize that fonts are software (as
well as works of art), and are protected as such.

>Unfortunately, Netscape (the TrueDoc implementor) doesn't implement enough
>CSS to let you embed fonts through CSS. You still have to muck around in
>the HTML, against the recommendations of the HTML 4.0 Specification.

Is this really against the recommendation of the HTML4 spec?  It's a bit of
a hack, to be sure, but they just use a META tag, which I don't think is
very strenuously defined in HTML 4.0.

>I hope this will be fixed in an upcoming 5.0/Mozilla release. It's a little
>late, but I'd also like to see some way to specify a list of fonts in
>different formats in CSS @font-face rules, for UAs to sort out, so CSS
>authors aren't forced to take sides in a proprietary font format war.
>Today, if you use OpenType, you cast your vote for Microsoft and their
>errant (IMO) type rendering. If you use TrueDoc, you can be browser-neutral
>and pro-anti-aliasing,but only by means of ActiveX and deprecated HTML in
>place of CSS.

Hey, someone should just step up and volunteer to implement the correct CSS2
syntax in Mozilla.  I could probably convince our typography team to assist
anyone who wanted to implement OpenType embedding in Mozilla as well.  I'm
sure you can imagine why I can't offer to do it myself.  ;^)

You can, in fact, specify a list of different formats in the CSS @font-face
rules for the UA to select.  Even so, though, the designer would need to
create two copies of the font (one as Embedded OpenType, one as TrueDoc),
presuming you didn't want to insert the TrueDoc ActiveX control in your
pages.  If you're going to build two copies of the font anyway, you can use
the CSS2 syntax IE4 uses for the EOT file, and the META syntax Nav uses -
neither will interfere with each other.

-Chris
Received on Monday, 11 May 1998 18:00:30 GMT

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