RE: Can browsers show text? I don't think so

From: Michael Jansson (
Date: Thu Jul 04 2002 - 04:32:49 EDT

> From:
> Date: Tue, 02 Jul 2002 20:39:02 -0500 (CDT)
> Subject: Re: RE: Can browsers show text? I don't think so!
> Most people have fonts to display their own language - they
> came with their operating system. I'm a Unicode geek, and it
> doesn't really matter if I can't see whether it displays
> correctly or not. My friends couldn't care less.

I can tell that your own language is English The world looks a bit different
if you speak a language that is not accessible on all computers in the
world. Some language are not even available on any systems, until you
install extra fonts etc.

Your arguments seems to be that there is only need for one language on a
operating system. Why would you need Unicode then? If you only care about a
single language at a time, then you should stick to e.g. code pages. I guess
being able the read the name of a Hawaiian or Polish author correctly would
be of little use to you as well?

> >The link below will take you to a web page that shows 500 Japanese
> >characters (courtesy of Morisawa Co Ltd) and a fairly large
> point size
> >(18px).
> And I can't change the point size, which sucks. I can install
> a language
> pack, which will let me change the point size, and work for all pages,
> whether or not they share the font resources.

Your comment are far from correct. Although you can make font resources
smaller by limiting the number of used point size, that does not imply that
you have to stick to a number of fixed sizes.

Have a look at:

> >This scales up very well as well, because pages may share
> font resources. A
> >font with 2000 characters would be 80kb in this case, and
> would perhaps work
> >for hundres of pages.
> And would fail the instant someone added a new character.

No, of course not. If you add a character to the page, then the page would
show correct with that character, without you having to do anything. How do
you think dynamic pages work with web fonts? You can not possibly know what
characters to use in such a case, because the content is being created on
the fly (e.g. from a database). Static pages can simply be handled like
dynamic pages that changes infrequently ;-). And no, a dynamic solution does
not have to be slow. The particular system we are talking about has an
average overhead of 7 msec per request on a 750Mhz x86 system, while
boosting the network performance.

Have a look at:

> >Also, what is it with people and the lack of interest in
> using fonts. Do
> >people actually think that you only need one font, possibly
> in bold, italic
> >and regular style? Do they think that other languages, e.g.
> Chinese, do not
> >use styles? Text should be beautiful to look at too!
> But text should be readable first. Typographers will probably
> flame me for
> this, but for English, there's only two or three distinct
> readable fonts (with
> a thousand minor variations on the form.) I'd usually prefer
> to see my serif
> font, instead of some bitmap font someone else chose, as mine
> will be scalable
> and anti-aliased. Pictures work better than fonts for fancy
> titles, and are
> already used for that.

What? God all mighty... what a statement. I'm not even going to bother to

I'm stunned by people low expectations on what you can do in terms of fonts
and languages on the web.

em2 Solutions
Michael Jansson

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