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28 July 2010, 15:53

WOFF - Now loading fonts on websites

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The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has published its first public draft for WOFF, the Web Open Font Format, which aims to allow browser-independent CSS loadable fonts. WOFF is already widely implemented; Firefox, WebKit (used by Google's Chrome and Apple's Safari), Opera and even the third preview version of Internet Explorer 9 now support WOFF.

CSS3 includes a font module which offers an @font-face declaration, allowing web developers to load fonts to ensure that their website displays with the right font. WOFF is the data format for these fonts. A file format specifically designed for the web, it is a container which, as well as the (optionally compressed) font tables in sfnt format, can also contain metadata, such as licensing or other information. The structure is described in the second section of the W3C's draft.

Fonts to be loaded from the web must originate from the same domain as the document which calls them. Font websites will be able to work around this same-origin restriction by explicitly allowing cross-origin references via the Access-Control-Allow-Origin HTTP header. Fonts loaded in this way may only be made available to the documents which reference them and must not be used by other applications.

WOFF was jointly submitted to the W3C by Microsoft, Mozilla and Opera in April. The format was developed by Mozilla's Jonathon Kew and typographers Tal Leming and Erik van Blokland last year.


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