W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > April 2008

Re: WebFonts ready for use

From: Brad Kemper <brkemper@comcast.net>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 2008 07:10:30 -0700
Cc: Erik Dahlström <ed@opera.com>, Paul Nelson <paulnel@winse.microsoft.com>, Håkon Wium Lie <howcome@opera.com>, www-style@w3.org, Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>
Message-Id: <824ADB08-0DE3-40F3-BD26-8E0E85518A7E@comcast.net>
To: John Daggett <jdaggett@mozilla.com>


On Apr 30, 2008, at 1:56 AM, John Daggett wrote:

> I understand the reasoning here, showing *something* is better than  
> missing glyph boxes or question marks but in this case allowing a  
> downloaded webfont to be used in the system font fallback process  
> would lead to rather odd behavior, the page rendering would  
> effectively become a function of the browsing history.
>
> Say a user visits the BBC Bengali site which includes a downloaded  
> web font.  The user then browses to another Bengali site which  
> renders correctly because of the font downloaded from the BBC site.   
> But several days later, after the font has been cleared from the  
> cache, if the user now visits that second site again missing glyphs  
> appear instead.  Makes for a rather inconsistent user experience.

Inconsistent, but not worse than having the glyphs missing both times  
instead of once. At least the first time, the user had the glyphs to  
read everything. The only thing that is worse is the troubleshooting  
aspect of trying to figure out why the page didn't render correctly on  
the second visit. Authors at the second site may even realize that  
they could benefit by using the same font as the BBC, if they got  
calls and e-mails about the behavior and recognized what caused it.

Also, its not that different from when one site has only one Bengali  
font listed in "font-family" and another site has a second one listed  
there to provide the missing glyphs of the first one. A user might  
equally wonder why his font works fine on one site but shows question  
marks on the other. In fact, I think you would need to use font-family  
to pick up the extra glyphs anyway. So that could look something like  
this on the second site:

{ font-family: myBengali, bbcBengali  }

The main difference from our current situation is that the second site  
would benefit from the font loaded via @font-face from the BBC site,  
whereas today they would only benefit if the user had the font pre- 
installed, or if the site had its own @font-face and made the user  
wait for it to be downloaded again.
Received on Wednesday, 30 April 2008 14:11:13 GMT

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