This year on 24 Ways, Jeffrey Zeldman wrote an article about the rending problems of “real fonts” on the web. The one line summary: different browsers and different platforms do “hinting” differently which can be bad news. Of course, like nearly everything Mr. Zeldman says, he has a good point.
Then Jeffrey Veen chimed in:
Now it’s screen rendering. Next, it will be the performance implications of downloading fonts with international character sets. After that? Maybe inconsistent browser support of kerning metrics, ligatures, or other Open Type Metrics.
It’s going to be a long road.
Kinda puts thing in perspective doesn’t it?
In the long long ago, we used <font> tags. Then there was CSS, but we still only had the “core” web fonts. People were fed up and technologies like sIFR emerged. Now @font-face is really getting legs, but there are legal implications. So services like TypeKit emerge to help. But now font hinting creeps in and we get unhappy again. Then after that is solved, as Mr. Veen points out, there will be a long line of new things to be unhappy about. I can think of a few myself, for example, since fonts are vector, why can’t we apply strokes to them on the web?
I think we’re all going to need to be critical and help push things forward, but remain glass-half-full at the progress that has been made.