Re: "Interoperability is getting better" ... What does that mean?

From: Jukka K. Korpela <>
Date: Wed, 09 Jan 2013 13:13:39 +0200

2013-01-09 11:57, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:

> Not sure which fallacy you have identified - see below.

I was referring to comparison between an ad hoc 8-but encoding and a
Unicode encoding so that you count the sizes font files in first case
only. I’m a bit confused with your comparison, which seems to deal with
a page that uses a downloadable font in both cases but uses some rather
obscure fonts (from a site that has no main page etc.). In any case, my
point might not apply to your specific comparison, but it applies to the
general scenario:

When you use a “fontistic trick”, based on the use of a font that
arbitrarily maps bytes 0–255 to whatever glyphs are wanted this time,
the font is a necessary ingredient of the soup. When using Unicode
encoding for character data, you do not depend on any specific font, but
the data still has to be rendered in *some* font. And the more rare
characters you use, in terms of coverage in fonts normally available in
computers worldwide, the more you will be in practice forced to deal
with the font issue, not just for typography, but for having the
characters displayed at all. And this quite often means that you need to
embed a font (in a Word or PDF document), or to write an elaborated
font-family list in CSS, or to use @font-face. Besides, on web pages,
you normally need to provide a downloadable font in three or four
formats to be safe.

So, quite often, the size of data is increased – actually more due to
the size of fonts than due to character encoding issues. But in a vast
majority of cases, this price is worth paying. After all, if saving bits
were our only concern, we would be using a 5-bit code. ☺

Received on Wed Jan 09 2013 - 05:18:44 CST

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