July 16, 2009

Control your web-pages’ typography with @font-face

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 11:47 pm

One of the most common mistakes a n00b web-designer makes — and one that took me a long time to figure out back when I started — is to assume that the way their shiny web-pages look in the WYSIWYG editors is actually the way how they’ll be presented to all variety of end-users. That crazy gothic font can totally get you hawt on FrontPage, but to say that it would look crippled on most of your visitors’ screens would probably be an understatement.

The CSS @font-face feature debuted a little while ago to rectify the font mess. To put it simply, it allows authors to “embed” fonts on their web-pages. And I’m a bit late on this, but it has found its way into the newest release of Firefox as well. The example rendered perfectly on version 3.5 using the new font, raising a few points in my head:

  • The rule certainly has considerable space for abuse. But then, which technology on web doesn’t?
  • For the paranoid, Firefox does provide the gfx.downloadable_fonts.enabled in about:config to turn the feature off.
  • Out of curiosity, I checked out IE’s status on @font-face support. Turns out that it also supports font-embedding, albeit using an obscure format called EOT which is basically what one would label as “DRM for fonts“. How surprising.
  • Prior to downloading the new fonts, the demo page gracefully degraded to stock ones.

In a nutshell, intriguing at worst and exciting at best. Also, it’s nice to see that IE 6’s death is prompting a steady progress in CSS and HTML. About time as well.

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July 10, 2009

Semi-annual blog conscience report

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 1:17 am

Inspirated Browser Stats (January -- July 2009)

If there ever was an insanely staggering year in terms of unexpected geekological developments, it has to be 2009. Since January I have regularly been taken aback by news such as record labels dropping DRM, Duke Nukem Forever finally bowing out; Microsoft confessing that ActiveX is retarded from security’s point of view, Google Apps moving out of beta, VLC reaching 1.0, Chrome OS’ announcement, XHTML Part Deux’s quiet death, HTML 5 and CSS 3’s adoption in major browsers and well; defying all expectations, Inspirated’s browser hit stats managing to keep their head high even in the half-yearly round-up. It’s been about 136,000 hits on the blog from Firefox alone, markedly more than twice the IE hits. The first time I noticed the vulpine victory I did dedicate a post to the stats. Nevertheless, consistency achieved over six months just gives me another chance to gloat about it.

I don’t know if this is at long last the year of Linux on desktop, but one thing is for sure: only a final release of GNU Hurd now stands between our planet and the apocalypse. If that does happen, however, please make sure that you refer to the calamity by its correct technical term “GNU/Apocalpyse” and not just the ignorant layman’s phrase which totally undermines the FSF’s impact on universe’s evolution.

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April 4, 2009

The blog with still a clear conscience

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 11:47 am

“Mammon slept. And the beast reborn spread over the earth and its numbers grew legion. And they proclaimed the times and sacrificed crops unto the fire, with the cunning of foxes. And they built a new world in their own image as promised by the sacred words, and spoke of the beast with their children. Mammon awoke, and lo! it was naught but a follower.” — from The Book of Mozilla, 11:9 (10th Edition)

I guess the surprise is over, allowing me to label the results as “consistent”:

Inspirated Browser Stats (January -- April 2009)

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February 14, 2009

The blog with a clear conscience

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 4:09 pm

Going through statistics for the current year, found this little pleasant surprise:

Inspirated Browser Stats

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April 8, 2007

Firefox, Internet Explorer and the Acid2 test

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 5:12 pm

Firefox and other popular open-source projects are well-renown for their rapid development pace. That’s exactly the reason why you would be seeing the 3rd major version release of Firefox in almost the same amount of time which Internet Explorer took to roll one (Firefox 1.0 was released in November 2004 and Firefox 3.0 is expected to be released around Fall 2007, whereas Internet Explorer versions 6.0 and 7.0 were released in August 2001 and October 2006 respectively).

If we shift our concern from development pace for a while, development focus immediately grabs our attention. Firefox became better and more confirming to W3C standards while IE focused on changing the interfaces and getting rid of old problems by introducing new ones. To back this view, I decided to compare the respective browsers’ progress in the Acid2 test. For those who’re not familiar with Acid2 yet, here’s a quick intro: It’s a cleverly constructed web-page which determines an internet browser’s support for web standards. If your browser displays a correctly rendered smiley on the page and changes the nose color to blue upon hovering with the mouse pointer, it passes the test. If it displays a jumble of non-recognizable patterns, you’re most probably using Internet Explorer.

Here’s the comparison:

Acid2 on Firefox 2 Acid2 on Internet Explorer 6
Firefox 2 Internet Explorer 6
Acid2 on Firefox 3 Alpha 3 Acid2 on Internet Explorer 7
Firefox 3 Internet Explorer 7
(Progress in 1 year) (Progress in 5 years)

I think the pictures speak for themselves. It should be noted that Firefox 3 isn’t even released yet. I was testing an Alpha build just to get an idea of where the development is being headed. The answer is certainly pleasing, specially for web-developers who spend nights trying to fix annoying rendering bugs across various browsers.

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January 29, 2007

Tragedy of the masses

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 2:55 am

As much as I hate Internet Explorer, it’s just not possible for me (or any other web-designer) to completely ignore it. Inspirated used to render perfectly in Firefox and passed W3C’s XHTML & CSS validators without any errors or warnings. However, one of my MSN contacts pointed out that the layout was badly broken in Internet Explorer. After Googling for the cause of a problem, I discovered that IE 6 couldn’t properly handle floated divs without some CSS hacks. Consequentially, peculiar display errors were present on my site e.g. a page showing everything nicely until it was scrolled, making all the boxes disappear.

After editing the style sheet and making few other changes in the page layout, the site is now rendered in IE as expected. Though I still can’t get over the fact that I wasted two whole hours on fixing something that wasn’t broken in the first place. Even worse, I had to do it only because something that I dearly despise is quite popular among the masses.

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