I’ve come to really love CSS in the last couple years. I’ve looked at it and played with it enough that there’s not much that I’m not aware of, if not skilled with. Something that took me surprise though, was Mozilla’s announcement that Firefox 3.1 would support the @font-face css rule, which I’d never heard of.

Basically, @font-face is a tool that says “I want this font to be available, and here’s where to download it”, like this:

@font-face {
  font-family: "Bitstream Vera Serif Bold";
  src: url("");

The web requires that a given font reside on the end user’s machine, which means if you declare font-family: My_cool_Font; and they don’t have it, too bad. @font-face enables the browser to go find My_cool_Font on the internet, download it, and use it instantly.

I remember when Netscape 4 came out with some built-in font downloading stuff. It was terribly exciting, immediately followed by terribly disappointing. It was awful. I had no idea anyone was even thinking about this anymore, and now suddenly there it is! How fun.

3 thoughts on “New CSS Hotness

  1. Have you tried this yet? Any idea on what the end-user sees or if the browser makes them jump through hoops just to view the page? If it’s seamless, then that could be cool, but it could also be troubling — there’s something about the ability of a site to download something to your computer without your say-so that’s kind of icky.

  2. I haven’t yet, I’m too lazy to get 3.1 for windows (it doesn’t work in Linux in beta).

    I can see where there’s some danger if someone managed to make a font hold malicious data. But it’s not a lot different from “downloading” a css file with the tag.

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