sIFR (scalable inman flash replacement for the outsiders) is a technique to embed custom fonts in a webpage. You know, traditionally web pages can only show a couple of fonts reliably – the ubiquitous Arial, Times, and a couple of others.
When sIFR was introduced I was pretty psyched out about it. Showing any font, and still accessible, selectable, etc. However, it’s giving me nothing but headaches. Let’s recap some of those:
- sIFR needs Flash. At a certain point there was a security issue and I had to disable Flash. No more sIFR.
- Lots of people block Flash, because of the ads.
- Special characters weren’t showing. It appeared my font didn’t even have these defined. Well that’s not sIFR to blame, but still
- It’s almost doing a good job presenting the CSS correctly. Almost.
- Documentation? Don’t get me started. Besides a collection of pages on several blogs, that are badly maintained, there’s absolutely nothing.
- Every time you install a new version you have to recreate your font files. Now that’s annoying!
Here are some alternatives I found today
trademarks: JS, PHP, CSS, commercial.
Server side generating is of course a good idea, but I can’t see if the textimages are cached, it looks like not.
trademarks: JS, PHP, hosted, commercial
This one seems very good, but a bit too commercial. Hosted? No thank you.
trademarks: JS, SVG/VML, free
Typeface is a diamond among these, so it seems, if it doesn’t suffer from the lack of documentation that is. But if it’s really good it doesn’t need documentation.