W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-svg@w3.org > November 2011

Re: Revisiting SVG Fonts

From: Chris Lilley <chris@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 1 Nov 2011 01:42:02 +0100
Message-ID: <476223607.20111101014202@w3.org>
To: Charles Pritchard <chuck@jumis.com>
CC: www-svg@w3.org
On Monday, October 31, 2011, 8:30:33 PM, Charles wrote:

CP> And I understand that SVG fonts do not support various items that would
CP> make them a worthwhile alternative -- such as supporting semantics to 
CP> render full color emoji.

You have that exactly backwards. SVG fonts *are* able to support colour, animated, emoji while TrueType and OpenType do not.

However, current work to allow SVG glyphs inside OpenType fonts would give the colour and animated capability of SVG fonts with the greatly superior internationalization and feature flexibility of OpenType; and such an OpenType could be transported as woff.

That seems to me by far the best way forward.

CP> That said: there is a high barrier to entry when working with binary 
CP> formats. I can't -quite- be helped with PNG, but SVG does do something
CP> about that -- it allows hand coding of images in ASCII format, and it 
CP> still permits raster images to be included.

Yes (assuming by ASCII you mean Unicode)

CP> There is a high barrier to entry for designing and generating WOFF. 

Not really.

Its certainly possible to design an SVG font and then convert it to OpenType and produce a woff. (FontForge, and FontSquirrel, are two ways to do this).

CP> Meanwhile: creating an SVG font is as easy as creating an SVG. It can 
CP> even be debugged right there, in real time, in the browser. One could 
CP> easily write a program to allow drawing in SVG, and exporting those 
CP> glyphs as an SVG font. All of this is ASCII/DOMString compatible. WOFF
CP> is not. It's not easily interchanged, not easily supported on the 
CP> server-side.

CP> With all due respect to WOFF, it's far too formal for many basic use 
CP> cases. 

I have no idea what you mean by 'too formal' here. Is it a synonym for 'binary format'?

CP> It's just so much easier to use SVG Fonts for basic cases than to go 
CP> through the necessary actions to use WOFF.

CP> Again, I know there's no hinting, and all that other stuff. It's really
CP> not been an issue in -any- of the use cases I've had for SVG Fonts. In
CP> contrast, compiling and working with a complex binary format, that has
CP> been an issue. I'm very experienced with what I do, but it's still a lot
CP> of work for me. I consider that an undue burden on other authors trying
CP> to support glyphs.

I think your worflow issues are easily adressd by authoring in SVG and then converting to OpenType woff (which is, I'm sorry, a pretty simple process with existing, free, software).

 Chris Lilley   Technical Director, Interaction Domain                 
 W3C Graphics Activity Lead, Fonts Activity Lead
 Co-Chair, W3C Hypertext CG
 Member, CSS, WebFonts, SVG Working Groups
Received on Tuesday, 1 November 2011 00:42:47 UTC

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