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WOFF, the web standard for type

Jonathan Kew, Tal Leming, and Erik van Blokland have revised their earlier WebOTF proposal and are calling it WOFF.

This is a web standard for typefaces. In a nutshell, it explains that a WOFF font file is “simply a repackaged version” of font files like TrueType, OpenType, and Open Font Format, compressed and designed primarily for use on the web.

WOFF files would consist of two basic parts: typeface data and XML-based metadata. Most of the proposed specification explains the guidelines by which this information should be organized, compressed, uncompressed, and reorganized.

Worth noting is that this proposal is concise, focusing on the integrity of font data and clarifying that special features are outside of its scope.

WOFF encoding tools (and web services that produce WOFF files) may add features like glyph subsetting and validation but, “must assure that the validity of the underlying font data is preserved.” Presumably, tools and services of a different scope may reference the XML portion of WOFF files for license enforcement.

Judging by the wisdom evident in this proposal and the reception its predecessor enjoyed, I believe this is the font format future to which we can look forward.

  • Eiko Lie

    hopefully… The next logical step to assure a constistant and perfect brand appearance.

  • Karthik


    Is there any tool to generate WOFF format from TTF?

  • Karthik: Font Squirrel’s generator will produce WOFF files. But besides file size, the real power and promise of the WOFF format is the licensing environment it affords type sellers. Converting from TTF to WOFF will not help us in this regard; we must wait for type sellers to sell us WOFF typefaces, and wait for browser support.

  • Andrew Mason

    Does anyone know where you can buy WOFF / ttf / eot font packs ? I know there are services like typekit etc.. but they require javascript to be enabled which isn’t ideal ( @font-face works without javascript ) and offline uses / private intranets etc.. don’t work with those services.

    Ideally what i’m looking for is a paid version of what font squirrel offers with their @font-face download option. I know it’s trivial to get the TTF files and make EOT/ WOFF files but I’m sure it’s against the license terms and even if it wasn’t you still get a whole bunch of stuff you don’t need for the web.

  • Andrew Mason

    Ok so it seems the font squirrel generator will strip out the cruft for you. Nice. So i guess now i only need a place to buy fonts that have a web embedding license.

  • I need to say, there are some items about your smile that you simply will by no means have the ability to alter; you’ll be able to alter the colour of one’s design!

  • Great post, very helpful, I have to say that if ones web site like this on of Target was so unhelpful to the client using it, why would this client come back, or even tell anyone else to use it. This can be very damaging to a business in the long run.

  • I’m also really hoping to see a nice web standard that every browser can render without problems. With so many licensing issues out there, this seems like an all-encompassing format could be very difficult to implement.

  • Congratulations to demonstrate exactly why it is so difficult for web technologies to move forward – the critics are often ignorant of what is actually happening.

    I doubt “graceful degradation” or “progressive improvement” ever crossed your feeble mind, but let me try * to explain.

    The sources are divided into sans-serif and serif. Often, when a developer source code for a site, choose a font family as “Arial, sans-serif” which means that if someone does not have Arial, the default person sans-serif font is used.

    Being the smart person you are, I’m sure you’ve removed all system fonts, but Arial and Times New Roman and take advantage of graceful degradation now.

  • Book guide

    Yeah great write up and info here.

  • Azza

    Thanks for sharing the info about WOFF file format. I will look into this a bit further now. Cheers.

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