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Re: Web fonts

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Mon, 1 May 2006 19:16:32 +0100 (BST)
Message-Id: <200605011816.k41IGWq04516@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: www-style@w3.org

> I'll be grateful to if you can help me in clarifying certain doubts =
> regarding the basics of Web-fonts.

I think you may be off topic, but as fonts are a hot topic and you may
be able to contribute to the debate, I'll attempt an answer.

> I've gone through the basic concepts but I failed to get the relevant =
> information.My doubts are ....
> 
> Is the Web-font same as that of Dynamic-font?If it's not, which way =
> it'll differ?

What's a "Dynamic-font"?

In the recent discussion, "web font" has been used to mean font delivery
technologies that allow on demand downloading of fonts required for a
document.  Historically the term "web fonts" has been used to refer to 
a set of font faces, promoted by Microsoft, and, whilst being outline fonts,
being optimised for use on low resolution visual displays.  This definition
of web fonts is independent of the technology used to encode the fonts,
although they were all delivered as TrueType.

> Can we convert OTF fonts to Webfonts?

What do you mean by OTF.  If you mean OpenType, the only current  browser
implementation of the first definition of web font uses "embedded open
type" (EOT) fonts, so OpenType fonts can be converted to EOT, but trying
to convert in the opposite direction is not possible without losing some
of the digital rights management coding that is in the EOT version.

In the second definition, the set of web fonts is fixed and therefore
one cannot convert an arbitrary font into a "web font".  As OpenType is
a wrapper for Type 1 and TrueType fonts, and EOT is a wrapper OpenType, one
can convert OpenType fonts to the first sense of web font, but only if
the licensing permits it.  Licensing of individual fonts is definitely 
off topic.

The current discussion has included the suggestion of using unwrapped
TrueType fonts as web fonts.  If one had a Type 1 font, wrapped as
OpenType, one would not be able to accurately convert it into TrueType,
as the hinting schemes, and the ways of specifying splines, are different.
(The rationale behind suggesting the use of TrueType would also apply to
Type 1, but Type 1 is less common these days, especially for freely 
redistributable fonts, for which that proposal was made.)

W3C  has never identified specific font technologies for on demand
downloading.

> Is it necessary to download the Web-font more than once for browsing =
> different pages in the same site ?

That only makes sense in the first sense.  Assuming that you use
the same  resource name for the fonts for both pages, this depends 
entirely on the cache control information set by the web server and
the policies imposed by the browser and any intermediate shared
caches.  That's completely outside the scope of W3C as caching is
an HTTP function, and therefore an IETF responsibility.  However, one
would normally expect that web servers and caches would be configured
to support caching, even though there are many misguided attempts to
frustrate it for normal pages.  (That's mainly because attempts to
frustrate caching normally use server side dynamic contents or
HTML meta elements.)

> Can you point me any good documents related to webfonts?

The current framework for the first definition is in the CSS 2.0
specification.  The IE implementations of the first definition and
Microsoft's web fonts are probably both still on Microsoft's typography
micro-site, but they move URLs so often, that I'd have to search for
them to be sure of the current URLs.
Received on Monday, 1 May 2006 18:20:19 GMT

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