Safari 3.1 Part 3 – Why Safari pissed me off

April 5, 2008 10:02 am Published by

Okay, so I have finally gotten to this post. I guess I took the whole week off. I gotta be more disciplined. Anyway…

One thing that angered me about Safari 3.1 was its @font-face support. This allows developers to load fonts that may not already be on someone’s computer and use them anywhere in the site. This could be a totally awesome tool, however, I thought, “Why the hell is Safari trying to become IE?”

What do I mean by that statement? Well, the reason the IE sucks to develop for is because it is too busy trying to support older websites that don’t gracefully degrade. The developers were too busy trying to get the site to work in a patched together browser, so standards weren’t followed. This comes from the fact that IE attempted to create it own standard (as did Netscape) because they were all attempting to monopolize the internet.

Anyway, so we have Safari attempting to, in my view, add its own specification to CSS. Turns out I’m wrong. The @font-face selector is actually a part of the CSS3 spec. However, CSS3 is not fully “approved” even though it is supported. I’m not really sure how that works, but I’d really like to see some definite approval before we see support.

So I guess @font-face is all good. Soon we’ll be seeing websites in font other than Arial, Verdana, Tahoma, Trebuchet MS, Georgia, Times, and fantasy? Almost. Turns out you have to host the font files on your server, in a readable directory, so you can’t put up commercial fonts because all users will have to do is read your CSS (thanks Firebug!) and navigate to the font file and download it. Not good. So we are stuck with Open Type fonts. Which can be good, and are getting better, but they’re no Din.

But wait there’s more! You can load other fonts with this handy little tool known as sFIR. sFIR is awesome because it replaces your headings with Flash files that have the font’s embedded. It gracefully degrades (if someone doesn’t have Flash, they get the heading in your default font style). It also has limitations. sFIR is no intended to be used for mainbody text, only small chunks, like headings. And the person needs Flash (who doesn’t have it now-a-days?).

For more on @font-face and how it works, check out this @font-font explanation.