You may have seen the link flying around Twitter this afternoon, but a proposal from Tal Leming and Erik van Blokland to the W3C looks like the proper call to action for type to move forward on the web. It’s already received support from Hoefler & Frere-Jones, and I’m sure more will follow. Unfortunately it’s only a proposal at the moment, but a show of support from the design community would surely help it along.
Put simply, it’s a request for a new font-file format, specifically for the web:
.webfont. This format would allow typefaces to be assigned to a domain to prevent abuse, and would allow us to use the browser native
@font-face functionality as intended. No workarounds, no middlemen, no bullshit.
They’ve got my support.
For the sake of brevity, I’ve copied the highlights of the proposal here (ignoring the sections aimed at browser manufacturer’s and type foundries). You could also view the full proposal if you so desire.
The revised format [.webfont] is now a compressed file containing
two files with the following names:
The info.xml file contains numerous bits of data describing the font
The fontdata file would contain the actual font file. The name does
not have an extension so that it can be format agnostic.
[…] these files would be compressed into a single file.
The proposal goes on to list various elements for the
.xml file but the important bit is this:
allow- A list of URLs allowed to use the font. Optional.
In our previous proposal we suggested an unobtrusive alert system that
would be triggered if the domain being viewed did not match a domain
element. John Daggett explained that he didn’t think
this would work. Instead, he suggested a “page info” window that
would display data about the page including information defined in the
font’s metadata plus same-site origin restrictions. We are very
interested in hearing from the browser developers about the
feasibility of these two ideas.
We’re hopeful that this is a good format for everyone. It gives users
smaller file sizes. It gives the font vendors a simple format that
allows them to include information about the font. It doesn’t require
entirely new technologies from the browser developers.
What do you think?