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Re: Webfont compression

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Jul 2009 17:20:37 -0500
Message-ID: <dd0fbad0907221520n4692a6c0v3bf93849a16de296@mail.gmail.com>
To: John Hudson <tiro@tiro.com>
Cc: www-font@w3.org
On Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 4:26 PM, John Hudson<tiro@tiro.com> wrote:
> John Daggett wrote:
>> I was surprised that the issue of compression came up several times
>> during the Typecon web fonts panel discussion [2] but no one pointed out
>> that general gzip compression is available for all web content.  Several
>> folks presented the somewhat distorted view that standard TTF/OTF fonts
>> have to be served uncompressed while EOT fonts can be compressed.  This
>> seems to be a persistent misconception.
> Thank you for this comment, John, which goes some way to correcting such a
> misconception. For the sake of further clarity, and so we can better
> understand how this works, I wonder if you can provide some more detail. You
> say that general gzip compression is 'available' for all web content. In
> practical terms, how is this manifest? I understand that this compression is
> supported by default on the browser end, but how widely used is it on the
> server side, and what steps are necessary for web designers/developers
> wanting to ensure that such compression is applied to the sites that they
> build? I'm trying to understand whether a distinction exists between the
> availability of this technology and how much it is actually used.

You're just talking about site authors applying gzip compression,
right?  That's trivial.  Assuming a normal install of Apache on Linux,
frex, you can just add a single line to your apache2.conf file,
"AddOutputFilter DEFLATE".  Better is to specify which mimetypes you
want to compress, so you don't waste cpu cycles on your side or the
user's side compressing content that doesn't benefit much from it:
"AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html text/plain text/css
text/javascript" etc.  Making it handle fonts is just a matter of
adding the font's mimetype to that list.

Once you do that, Apache automatically handles the rest.  I'm sure
it's similarly easy in other server software.

As for actual use, it's used everywhere.  Any intelligent server owner
has it turned on if they value their bandwidth, not least because it's
just so damned *easy* to do.

Received on Wednesday, 22 July 2009 22:21:37 UTC

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