Long Time No sIFR
It’s been almost two years since we originally released sIFR, and predictably, the world is still not a tangible step closer to a real custom typography solution for the web. Sure there are people bringing the subject up again in W3C mailing lists and companies waxing philosophical about the typographical ecosystem, but nobody is actually doing anything measurable about it. Talking is good, and I’d hate to suppress any constructive discussions that may be going on right now, but until I see something more than a “recommendation” or a “working spec”, I will continue to shake my head and wonder when we’ll see any execution.
We had a feeling this sort of stagnation would continue when we first released sIFR, and therefore, we haven’t stopped development on it since version 1.0. Version 2.0 was the big release and current defacto “sIFR standard” in place on most sIFR-ized web sites today. The list of sites employing this solution is long and impressive. From MSNBC, to Nike, to The U.S. Navy, we estimate the number of sIFR-sized sites to be in the thousands, spanning across hundreds of countries, and serving up billions of pages views annually.
For those running sIFR 2.0 or 2.0.1, we have a minor update for you: version 2.0.2. This update fixes a bug related to the Microsoft IE Eolas update and also degrades sIFR text gracefully to HTML/CSS in the presence of the Firefox AdBlock extension. On a tiny percentage of machines running the new IE (mostly Media Centers, I believe), sometimes sIFR text would show up as a broken image. This is now fixed. Additionally, the AdBlock fix removes the biggest of what I’d consider “material” downsides to using sIFR as a typography solution. Now even your AdBlocking visitors won’t miss a beat.
Version 2.0.2 is probably the last in the 2.0 series and is available at the standard sIFR landing page: mikeindustries.com/sifr.
Some of my favorite features implemented so far are:
- Consistent font sizing, kerning, and leading, without the need for manual tuning
- Sizing through CSS
- Much better looking type, due to better anti-aliasing
- Flash 8 text effects such as shadows
- Easier configuration
A true solution for custom web typography will come eventually, but until that time, we will keep pushing forward with the tools we have.