Bert Bos (Bert.Bos@sophia.inria.fr)
Thu, 25 Jan 1996 14:35:05 +0100

Brian Behlendorf writes (on www-style@w3.org):
> Paul Haeberli at SGI has a proposal for font propagation and use on the
> web [1]. While his proposal puts the functionality in yet more HTML
> tags, I think it would be pretty easy to take his parameters and make
> them style sheet semantics. Is anyone interested in doing that? It's
> definitely too much for CSS1, but perhaps by CSS2... anyways, I'll be
> mentioning this to him, but I thought the opportunity to get input from
> the font community in the style sheet efforts should be pursued.
> (BTW, I couldn't get his java app to work either)

Meanwhile, Hakon Lie writes (on www-font@w3.org):
> Paul Haeberli writes:
> > Is this mail list active?
> It's starting up. I count 12 subscribers at this point..
> While I have Paul's attention: your WebFonts proposal [1] is
> interesting. I have one suggestion and one concern.
> - wouldn't PNG be a better format to base WebFonts on? First, it's
> politically more correct. Second, you can hide the metainformation
> inside the PNG-file.
> - providing bitmap fonts is device-dependent. The selected font may
> have just the right size on the author's screen, but will not scale
> to the reader's preferred size or any printer. If we aim for
> consistent presentations, isn't scalable fonts the only option?

Paul Haeberli's proposal for a simple bitmap font format is
interesting (I've used the even simpler version in the pbm toolkit),
but I feel it is not good enough. The fonts may produce acceptable
results on a screen, especially if PNG's ability for alpha channels is
used for anti-aliasing, but it is not good enough for printing.

A mature font format should provide for kerning, ligatures, and
resolution independency. There must be a standard way to map the
glyphs to Unicode characters. And on the Web, it should also be free
(at least the decoding software).

Defining a new format is a lot of work. It can be done when needed (as
was PNG for bitmap graphics), but maybe there already is a format we
can use. I know of Postscript, TrueType, MetaFont, BDF/PCF, and
TrueDoc[2]. Before designing a new format, I want to be sure that none of
these meet the requirements.


PS. to subscribe to www-font, send the word `subscribe' (minus the
quotes) to www-font-request@w3.org.

PS. There is a nice list of font issues on [3].

[1] http://reality.sgi.com/grafica/webfonts/
[2] http://bitstream.com/tdwp.htm
[3] http://fonts.verso.com/

  Bert Bos                                ( W 3 C ) http://www.w3.org/
  bert@w3.org                                  INRIA project RODEO/W3C
  http://www.w3.org/pub/WWW/People/Bos/   2004 Rt des Lucioles / BP 93
  +33 93 65 77 71                 06902 Sophia Antipolis Cedex, France