RE: SVG Fonts - Is it the Font Standard of the future?

From: Ernest Cline (
Date: Wed Mar 03 2004 - 23:26:28 EST

  • Next message: Peter Constable: "RE: SVG Fonts - Is it the Font Standard of the future?"

    I strongly doubt that any OS would want to support SVG fonts natively.
    At best, they might choose to include a utility that would transform the
    font into form more useful for itself. There are two major problems
    with SVG fonts.

    1) Lack of hinting - Without the ability to hint, getting fonts to look
    good at small sizes is extremely difficult. SVG fonts have no
    hinting mechanism, altho in theory it wouldn't be too difficult to
    add one. Possibly patent issues have kept W3C from adding
    such a method. W3C does not intentionally release specifications
    that would require implementors to pay royalties to implement the
    standard. However, even were hinting part of SVG fonts, there
    is another more serious and intractable problem.

    2) Lack of indexing - This is the far more serious problem with
    SVG fonts and it simply cannot be fixed. For large font files,
    if the glyph you want to match is the 3526th in the file for example,
    then the processor has to read at least the 3525 glyphs that
    precede it before it can get to glyph number 3526. Worse, the
    glyph can refer to data that occurs after the glyph, altho with
    careful management that problem can be handled by the font
    author to optimize access. Even so, an implementation can't
    simply read in only the bits that it needs to generate the glyphs
    that it will use.

    A major benefit of SVG fonts is that they allow an author
    to include special visual effects such as gradients, color,
    or even animation. A secondary benefit is that they are a
    portable format. SVG fonts have their niche, but the lack of
    indexing means that they can never be the only font forma
    that is ever needed.

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