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CSS3 First Look
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Working with web fonts


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CSS3 First Look

with James Williamson

Video: Working with web fonts

It is long been the dream of many a web designer to use fonts on their websites, other than the basic system fonts that we've been using since the early 1990s... I know. Although it's been a long journey, we seem to have finally reached that point with CSS3 and the use of web fonts. So what are web fonts? Well, it's a broad term that generally applies to the use of the CSS3 @font-face technique. @font-face allows you to specify a font that you want to display on your site.
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  1. 3m 5s
    1. Welcome
      1m 20s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 45s
  2. 31m 30s
    1. What is CSS3?
      5m 26s
    2. The current status of CSS3
      3m 35s
    3. An overview of CSS3 capabilities
      2m 24s
    4. Can you use CSS3 now?
      5m 31s
    5. Detecting support for CSS3
      9m 0s
    6. Understanding vendor prefixes
      5m 34s
  3. 1h 9m
    1. An overview of child and sibling selectors
      3m 11s
    2. Using child and sibling selectors
      7m 17s
    3. An overview of attribute selectors
      3m 19s
    4. Using attribute selectors
      8m 32s
    5. Pseudo-class UI selectors
      5m 56s
    6. Negation pseudo-class selectors
      6m 48s
    7. Target pseudo-class selectors
      5m 39s
    8. Structural selectors
      3m 58s
    9. Nth-child selector syntax
      10m 0s
    10. First, last, and only structural selectors
      5m 39s
    11. Using structural selectors to write more efficient code
      8m 52s
  4. 45m 28s
    1. Color formats in CSS3
      7m 9s
    2. Transparency in CSS3
      9m 10s
    3. CSS3 gradients
      4m 11s
    4. Creating linear gradients
      13m 57s
    5. Creating radial gradients
      11m 1s
  5. 49m 8s
    1. Working with web fonts
      6m 38s
    2. @font-face syntax
      4m 52s
    3. Downloading sample fonts
      6m 5s
    4. Writing @font-face declarations
      7m 57s
    5. Using web fonts
      6m 42s
    6. Using text shadows
      7m 14s
    7. Creating multi-column text
      9m 40s
  6. 50m 55s
    1. An overview of the flexible box model
      4m 42s
    2. Controlling box orientation
      5m 2s
    3. Setting element flexibility
      12m 59s
    4. Distributing boxes
      7m 54s
    5. Controlling box alignment
      12m 38s
    6. Working with box-sizing
      7m 40s
  7. 1h 5m
    1. Using border-radius
      6m 20s
    2. Creating custom rounded corners
      10m 21s
    3. Understanding border images
      5m 15s
    4. Using border images
      8m 52s
    5. Creating box shadows
      8m 58s
    6. CSS3 backgrounds
      4m 55s
    7. Controlling background size
      8m 46s
    8. Creating multiple background images
      6m 4s
    9. Using background-origin
      3m 18s
    10. Clipping background content
      3m 2s
  8. 40m 8s
    1. An overview of CSS3 2D transforms
      4m 26s
    2. Using 2D transforms
      8m 16s
    3. Setting transform origins
      5m 24s
    4. An overview of CSS3 transitions
      5m 0s
    5. Animating CSS properties
      6m 12s
    6. Using easing in animations
      5m 41s
    7. An overview of 3D transforms
      5m 9s
  9. 37m 56s
    1. Understanding media queries
      6m 18s
    2. Strategies for targeting multiple devices
      6m 4s
    3. Writing styles for target screen sizes
      12m 11s
    4. Deploying styles through media queries
      3m 55s
    5. Basing media queries on page orientation
      2m 24s
    6. Targeting media queries for iOS devices
      7m 4s
  10. 1m 6s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 6s

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CSS3 First Look
6h 34m Appropriate for all Nov 29, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In CSS3 First Look, staff author James Williamson provides an in-depth introduction to the newest CSS standard, detailing its modular format, history, and current level of browser support, while also demonstrating its capabilities and applications. The course includes tutorials on using new selectors, modifying typography and color, working with the box model, and understanding media queries. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the history of CSS3
  • Working with the new selectors
  • Adding transparency and gradients
  • Specifying web fonts with @font-face
  • Understanding the advances to page layout
  • Looking at CSS3 box model capabilities
  • Using 2D and 3D transforms
  • Understanding media queries
Subject:
Web
Software:
CSS
Author:
James Williamson

Working with web fonts

It is long been the dream of many a web designer to use fonts on their websites, other than the basic system fonts that we've been using since the early 1990s... I know. Although it's been a long journey, we seem to have finally reached that point with CSS3 and the use of web fonts. So what are web fonts? Well, it's a broad term that generally applies to the use of the CSS3 @font-face technique. @font-face allows you to specify a font that you want to display on your site.

The browser will then download the font and display it wherever it's used. This allows us to stop using the clunky workarounds we have used in the past and focus on our design. Now I'm sure you're interested in how @font-face works and we will get to the syntax and usage of it in our next movie. Right now, I want to focus on a brief history of @font-face and some of the issues still surrounding it. @font-face was actually part of the original CSS2 specification, but it was removed from the 2.1 spec due to implementation concerns.

Serious issues with online font licensing prevented widespread adoption in browsers and are still one of the major hurdles of @font-face today. The main problem with @font-face is how fonts they are delivered to the browser. In the default implementation you would reference a font resource posted online and the browser would download and then display the font. Now this means that the font is essentially naked. Meaning anyone could find the resource URL and download the font for their own personal use, and as you can imagine font foundries were not amused at the thought of their fonts being hosted online, with nothing to keep people from downloading and using their fonts without paying for a license.

Thankfully many organizations and individuals have been hard at work to enable web fonts while still protecting the integrity of the fonts themselves. Over the past several years we've seen a dramatic rise in online font hosting services, the development of several web specific font formats, and a rise in open-source online fonts. These and other dedicated solutions are making the usage of web fonts practical and leading to widespread adoption.

They're also one of the reasons we've seen @font-face reintroduced in the CSS Fonts Level 3 module. Let's talk for just a minute about online font formats. Although, most browsers offer support for common types like OpenType and TrueType, I want to take a moment to discuss two font formats designed for online usage. Embedded Open Type or EOTs and in the Web Open Font Format or WOFF, are the two formats supported by browsers that have been designed specifically for online usage.

Microsoft developed EOTs to add in support for the format in Internet Explorer 4 in 1997, making it the first font format designed for online usage. Now currently, it's only supported by Internet Explorer and it remains a format you need to account for if you want to use web fonts now. The WOFF format is one that holds great promise in the arena of online font usage. It's relatively new, developed in 2009 by a collaboration of type designers and Mozilla.

But it's rapidly gained support as an open standard for the web. The W3C has accepted it as a working draft and Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Opera, and perhaps most importantly multiple font foundries have thrown their support behind the format as well. It's highly likely that this file format will become the standard format across multiple browsers and devices. So what's the point of using a font format designed for online usage rather than just using available TrueType or OpenType fonts? Well, licensing for one. Most end- user agreements involving TrueType and OpenType fonts don't allow for online distribution.

The second is size. The WOFF format features a compression ratio that can result in font sizes up to 40% of their own compressed size. And this can make a dramatic improvement in the performance of sites utilizing web fonts, and we are almost ready to explore how @font-face works, but before we do that I want to discuss some of the online alternatives to hosting the fonts yourself. Now there's nothing wrong with hosting it yourself. Just be absolutely sure that you're within your rights as a license holder to do so.

Another way of adding web fonts to your sites is to use one of the growing numbers of online hosted services. These services take away the worries of hosting the fonts yourself and offer a variety of plans to suit your needs. Most services offer subscription-based plans. Large font libraries to choose from and code generation designed to make integrating the fonts in your site quick and painless. A few of the more popular services are Typekit, Font Squirrel, Fonts Live and Web Ink.

Now other services such as Kernest offer alternate ways to purchase or enable web fonts. I am a big fan of Typekit's pricing and plans and Font Squirrel's features. In fact, we will be using Font Squirrel a little bit later on in this title. Before setting on any specific service, I recommend taking advantage of their free or trial periods to determine which solution is right for you. One more thing. @font-face is not the only way to enable non-system fonts for your sites.

There are several tried- and-true methods out there. Such as CSS image replacement techniques, and services like Cufon and sIFR. But most of those alternative methods require somewhat complex code workarounds and occasionally used third-party plug-ins like Flash to display fonts. Google has recently launched a Google Font Directory, an open source font repository that uses Google's proprietary font API to display fonts within your website.

As an alternative to @font-face, I recommend checking it out. Now that we've taken a look at a general overview of web fonts, let's take a closer look at how they work, as we explore the syntax for @font-face in our next movie.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about CSS3 First Look.


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Q: I'm following along with the video "Transparency in CSS3".  James shows us how to achieve transparency in Internet Explorer by going to Kimili.com and entering a HSLA value to generate code for transparency.

Here that code:

background: transparent;-ms-filter: "progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.gradient(startColorstr=#BF0E0C0B,endColorstr=#BF0E0C0B)"; /* IE8 */
filter: progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.gradient(startColorstr=#BF0E0C0B,endColorstr=#BF0E0C0B); /* IE6 & 7 */ zoom: 1;

When this code is added to my HTML file it removes transparency on browsers that do in fact support it. So I'm left with NO transparency. Why?
A: The problem is in the filter code. If the IE background is called last, the first "transparent" declaration will remove all previous colors, regardless of browser. To resolve this, place the rule inside a conditional comment for IE or remove the "transparent" declaration at the front of the rule.
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