Microsoft WOFFles On SVG Web Fonts In IE9

Aug 7, 2010

In a post on the IE Blog, the following excuse was given for not supporting SVG Fonts:

“As IE9 has implemented more of the standards that developers use and value, IE9’s Acid3 score has continued to rise. The remaining points involve two particular technologies (SVG Fonts and SMIL animation of SVG) that are in transition.

Support for SVG Fonts in the web development and font communities has been declining for some time. There’s already been discussion without objection of dropping SVG fonts from the Acid3 test. The community has put forth a proposal in the SVG Working Group to give SVG Fonts optional status.

Instead, developers can use the Web Open Font Format (WOFF, supported in IE9 Platform Preview 3 as well as other browsers) for both HTML and SVG content. It works well in conjunction with the CSS3 Fonts module and has broad support from leading font vendors (e.g. here, “a majority of font makers have already settled on WOFF or services like Typekit as their format of choice”). WOFF fonts are a better long-term solution for many reasons discussed previously.

Here is my reply as it appeared in the comments:

I find this post’s explanation for tossing SVG Fonts under the bus completely unpersuasive. I don’t know what to make of it. You’ve written nothing about the technical merits or the lack thereof of SVG Fonts at all. Just excusy dance-arounds.

Support for SVG Fonts in the web development and font communities has been declining for some time.

To what kind of “support” are you referring? Actual implementations or enthusiasm about the technology? If the latter, who’s enthusiasm has waned?

Did somebody do a poll?

Chrome, Safari, and Opera all have running code for SVG Fonts.

There’s already been discussion without objection of dropping SVG fonts from the Acid3 test. The community has put forth a proposal in the SVG Working Group to give SVG Fonts optional status.

First, I object. So now you have an objection.

Second, so what? Are you in favor of SVG Fonts or not? Does it give developers valuable options that they would not otherwise have, or not?

Instead, developers can use the Web Open Font Format (WOFF, supported in IE9 Platform Preview 3 as well as other browsers) for both HTML and SVG content.

Huh? Excuse me for being a little in the dark here, but could you be specific about where and how WOFF – which is a wrapped TTF or OTF file and works no differently than the system installed web-safe fonts – can be manipulated via script in the way SVG fonts can be? Are you saying WOFF is *the same* as SVG Fonts?

It works well in conjunction with the CSS3 Fonts module and has broad support from leading font vendors (e.g. here, “a majority of font makers have already settled on WOFF or services like Typekit as their format of choice”).

This has the standards process backwards and it isn’t even true. If it’s true, prove it.

WOFF fonts are a better long-term solution for many reasons

Says you. What are the differences, why are you declining to suport SVG Fonts, *that* is the point.

Some elaboration would be appreciated.

Regards,

Rich

I think everybody deserves a truthful and rational explanation for any decision that effects digital publishing as profoundly as the display of fonts. From any browser maker. And especially from Microsoft who writes so many rules of the game.
Whatever disagreements there may be between some font producers and myself there is no disagreement on this: type is important, it’s fundamental. If questions are raised and the answer is, simply, “Suck it up. This is what we’ve decided to do.”, that may or may not be OK – it depends upon what we’re talking about – but I’d rather hear that, than jive posing as reason supported by wishes presented as facts.

What’s WOFF Got To Do With It?

Tina Turner sang that, right? What’s WOFF but a second hand emotion…♫♪♫♫
Anyway, to end, here’s an example of SVG fonts at work. Viewable in Opera, Chrome, and Safari:
http://devfiles.myopera.com/articles/593/webfonts_in_svg.svg

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