From: Brett Zamir (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Jan 18 2010 - 22:19:23 CST
As some of you may be aware, @font-face has gained some added ground of
late with more browsers supporting this Unicode-friendly CSS rule
(allowing one to specify a font on one's website which supports the
characters needed by the page, as the browser might not have built-in
font support for more obscure characters).
I think, though, that rather than relying on /developers/ to include
this /styling/ information to ensure Unicode characters can be read, a
more robust (though complementary) approach might be to house a central
repository of basic (open-source or otherwise licensed) fonts which can
be used by browsers to automatically download the fonts not already
supported in the browser, in order to ensure no Unicode character used
on a web page will ever be unreadable (at least if viewed with online
access), ensuring it can be presented in at least some form recognizable
to users of the script (rather than showing the less-than-user-friendly
code point number).
There would thus be no need for using @font-face just to be able to let
one's users view characters, though website creators could still use
@font-face to indicate a font with a specific style or set of glyph
forms for uncommon characters, in which case the central repository
would not be accessed by the browser. Such a central repository could
also solve the issue of uncertainty faced by developers as to whether
all browsers contain support for a given character or not.
In the case of Mozilla/Firefox I've made a feature request at
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=512619 (feel free to voice
your support there by registering and voting on the request) to allow
automatic downloading of basic open source fonts from a secure
centralized Mozilla server whenever unknown characters are encountered,
but maybe other browsers could collaborate to make this happen together
or for their own browsers.
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