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Re: SVG Fonts [...]

From: Dr. Olaf Hoffmann <Dr.O.Hoffmann@gmx.de>
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 2010 11:36:51 +0200
To: robert@ocallahan.org, www-svg@w3.org
Message-Id: <201006031136.52312.Dr.O.Hoffmann@gmx.de>
Robert O'Callahan:

> In general SVG fonts are going to be lower quality, in terms of
> rasterization.

Well, they are SVG paths, if the quality of display is low (or even worse
than the accuracy required in general for devices), this is a bug of the
viewer, not a problem of the method ;o)

> Of course, if there is no such option or viewers to not interprete
> > this option, many authors will just use a feature from programs
> > like inkscape to convert text into inaccessible paths, difficult to edit
> > afterwards and not readable anymore without the graphical
> > representation.
> It would be easy to create a very simple tool to convert SVG glyph outlines
> into an Opentype font --- and back again, for the simple cases that can be
> represented with SVG.

Sure, if the target format has the same path segments - cubic curves, 
elliptical arcs and for the complex SVG font variant the combination of
multiple shapes (useless for more than 1kb text, but nice for freaky designers 
of logos and advertisements etc)

> This can be the future as well for yet another cryptic
> font-format instead of the option to define glyphs simply with
> > SVG for SVG documents.
> Opentype is not a cryptic or obscure format. It is the font format used by
> almost all font designers. There are very many free and non-free tools that
> work with Opentype. Probably more people work with Opentype daily than SVG.

My assumption and hope is, that it is pretty useful and effective to provide
fonts with formats like opentype with good readability for larger amounts of
However freaky designers often have only the need for a small group of large
And to have at least a chance to get them somehow in the boat of
accessibility these SVG fonts are something we maybe can foist them
to create better documents ;o)

And even if a format is cryptic or difficult to edit or at least more 
difficult than to create a glyph with SVG paths, this is no problem
as long as there is no need to modify or create new glyphs,
which need to be embedded in the same document to be
sure to be always in line with a corporate design or whatever
are the reasons for designers to have a few precisely defined
glyphs in a graphic.
And if they want to have the graphic in a clip art library or at
wikimedia commons etc, they do not really want to have to care
about licenses of fonts from other people and therefore have 
to provide their own glyphs within the same file using SVG paths.

I think, these are pretty different use cases, to provide a font
for reading a larger amount of text or to provide some specific glyphs within
the same document for reasons like corporate design, advertisement,
design etc. 
The first use case is essential to be able to read text at all.
The second is advanced graphics. SVG is basically graphics expressed as
XML. One does not really need graphics in many situations, but if their
is a decision, that a user agent interpretes a graphics format, I think,
it has to deal with its specific and different use cases as well...
And because such an advanced format like SVG has built-in 
accessibility features, a user agent should not force authors to
ignore them.

Received on Thursday, 3 June 2010 09:41:04 GMT

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