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2010 March | Expressing IT

Archive for March, 2010

@fontface : Expressing it with a font of your choice; Using WebFonts

Saturday, March 13th, 2010 By Nikhil

CSS completed 10 years existence this year! Those who have been around for a while , earning their bread (or not) using CSS, then you might aware how we have been starving for  a good selection of fonts.  Even with the lack of fonts designers like those at  CSS Zen Garden have made use of CSS background images to replace fonts  in the pursuit of doing some justice to their designs .  We have also tried Flash/JavaScript® hacks to achieve our design goals.  By no means this is  a wrong way to get the fonts we desire into our web designs, but definitely, it is not the most desirable way.  and over years web designer, like me ,  have fully relied  on ten or so  fonts for their designs.

Recent developments in web standards and font formats make it possible to render HTML text in typefaces other than the same old default fonts.   Comes in  the “@fontface” CSS decleration.

@fontface provids a solution to link  to the actual font file and retrieve it from the web.  Using @fontface , designers can use  fonts without having to freeze the text as background images.  The implementation is very straight forward, as shown below but  as all good things have a CON part to it , NOT ALL browsers support a single “font type “.  If you are planning to use @fontface in site with requiring cross browser support, then you will have to provide sources to various font-types of the same.

  1. TrueType – A format designed to look good on-screen. Recommended particularly for Windows browsers (Chrome).
  2. OpenType (CFF) – This format is better for print work and does not always look good on Windows.
  3. EOT – You need this format if you want to target Internet Explorer. IE will not use any other format. Our EOT’s would be considered “Lite,” since they are neither compressed nor domain-restricted.
  4. SVG – This is an XML format supported by some browsers including the iPhone.
  5. WOFF – This cross-browser, web-only font format is lightweight (font data is zip compressed) and can be compiled with either TrueType or PostScript (CFF) outlines. It is currently supported by FireFox 3.6+.

Using @fontface

@font-face {
font-family: 'CalligraphyFLFRegular';
src: url('CalligraphyFLF.eot');
src: local('CalligraphyFLF'), local('CalligraphyFLF'), url('CalligraphyFLF.woff') format('woff'), url('CalligraphyFLF.ttf')        format('truetype'), url('CalligraphyFLF.svg#CalligraphyFLF') format('svg');
}

@font-face {
  font-family: "Your typeface";
  src: url("fonts/font_filename.eot");
  src: local("Alternate name"), local("Alternatename"),
    url("fonts/font_filename.woff") format("woff"),
    url("fonts/font_filename.otf") format("opentype"),
    url("fonts/font_filename.svg#font_filename") format("svg");
  }
h2 { font-family: "Your typeface", Georgia, serif; }

As you can see from the above example, to include the chosen font typeface, one has to link to a set of fonttypes for the same typeface. Hence people refer to it as “Font Kit”.
There are Font Kits available that explicitly allows linking with the CSS @font-face property to it under End User License Agreement (EULA).

Useful WebFont Resources :

  • Fonts available for @font-face embedding wiki page at http://webfonts.info/wiki/index.php?title=Main_Page
  • Ray Larabie .  He is a renowned font designer who has made hundreds of interesting TrueType fonts freely available for use on the web. His fonts are elegant, decorative, and playful.
  • Dieter Steffmann is another great font designer. He, too, has made many beautiful fonts available for anyone to use.
  • Font shop : offers fonts designed specifically for web use.  More than 30 of the most successful FontFont families are now available as Web FontFonts.   FontShop  also has  a detailed WebFont user guide  http://www.fontshop.com/blog/newsletters/pdf/webfontfontuserguide.pdf
  • Font Squirrel :  Showcases all the fonts that Font Squirrel offers for use with @font-face CSS embedding. Font Squirrel offers an impressive quantity of type, makes it dead simple to pick one out, and handily offers “kits” – the typeface of your choice, in several formats, packaged with demo HTML & CSS that uses very current @font-face syntax. They also offer a way to make your own @font-face kits.  If the typeface you want to use has been licensed appropriately (the ones that come with your computer are not necessarily okay), the generator produces EOT, SVG, and hey! WOFF files.

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Its about the “Web designers who can’t code”

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010 By Nikhil

With my limited skill-set with tools like Photoshop and Illustrator, I can honestly confess that I’m a better developer than I am a designer. But my background with core (server side) development with Java/PHP/COBOL , has been a very positive influence on my UI development skills. What I mean is, while creating my designs,i.e. whenever I do design, I think about how the design can be best converted into HTML-CSS and while doing the HTML-CSS, I give a thought about the backend technology and make reasonably sure that the HTML can be easily implemented into XSL loops or PHP snippets etc.

Over years, I have been thrown head on to designs by UI designers who probably donot have a clue what HTML or CSS is. All these years I have been thinking that I would asking for too much, If I just expect the designer, who is trying to shov his “impossible to code” design down my throat, to understand just a little bit what his design would be converted into. THAT would help right?

Then, I came across this post today … Web designers who can’t code …Thanks Lord! I’m just one of many who feel the same … The above artitle is a bit a long winded .. but worth the read, every word of it.

Thanks Elliot Jay Stocks … I feel relieved!

Here is some excerpts from Elliots article.

Wow, what a day! It started with one little tweet and ended with a discussion that seemed to sweep across the whole web design community. It appears there are some very strong opinions held on the subject of whether web designers should be able to code.

So, before we get into this, allow me to quickly recap what I said on this morning on Twitter:

Honestly, I’m shocked that in 2010 I’m still coming across ‘web designers’ who can’t code their own designs. No excuse.

… I should’ve been a little more specific in my tweet. I was talking about designers who don’t have even the most basic HTML and CSS skills to turn a flat design into an actual site. Not people who intentionally choose not to code; those who can’t. And I’m also referring only to front-end code here; of course it’s ridiculous to think that designers should also be amazing back-end programmers …

We get ‘web’ designs sent in Illustrator, 300dpi, impossible to code, no consistency / usability.
~ Amy Mahon

It’s getting late, and I’ve got to wrap this up somehow. I know there will be many who disagree with me, and my intention is not to offend or upset anyone who can’t code, but I hope that some of what I’ve said reflects some of the points that always come up when delving into this debate.

At the end of the day, I don’t lose any sleep over who can code and who can’t. I’m just genuinely surprised to find so many designers that lack front-end skills, as I thought this was a thing of the past.

Also read the comments , there were around 320 comments, as i write … they are worth a read.
Please read Elliots full post here .. Web designers who can’t code


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Aligning radio button with text

Thursday, March 4th, 2010 By Nikhil

Since the radio button and the text are inline, so the text will align itself to the bottom of the radio button, The the text will appear to be slightly under the radio button.
If you want these to align to the top, you’ll have to place the radio and the text into separate containers like divs or spans ( as appropriate) and they will take care of the alignment. It would be easier to use table cells too, of your design brief permits it.

This won’t look the same in every browser, as every browser displays radios slightly differently, so there’s always going to be size issues no matter what you do.


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