We’ve had some great interviews with luminaries of CSS-based design here on CSS3.info already, but this one is my personal favourite! Håkon Wium Lie, ‘the father of CSS’*, spared us some time to answer a few questions about the evolution of web design and the future of CSS. I’m so excited by this, I’ve almost forgiven our friends at Opera for not letting us have an early preview of Opera 9.5!
Is the use of web fonts the next big step in web design?
Yes! Web fonts will be the next big thing if browsers start supporting them. Fonts are one of the core ingredients of design, along with space and colors. CSS is pretty good with space, colors, and fonts, but in the case of fonts the raw materials — the font files — are in short supply. Interestingly, there are lots of freely available TrueType font that authors allow us to use for free. So, I’m trying to connect the dots between web pages and the available fonts. I’ve written more about this in an article in Alistapart and you can play with web fonts in Prince.
With the current battles over copyright infringement with music and video on the web, can you imagine something similar occurring over the misuse of rights-protected fonts?
Almost all the content on the web is copyrighted. It’s still available because copyright holders want it to be available. Sure, there are cases when the copyright holder has not given permission. But I don’t think anyone would argue that we should remove all images, video or music from the web for this reason? There are plenty of freely available fonts out there and no need to use fonts with resistant owners. Also, plenty of new font will be created open-source style if browsers start supporting web fonts.
Has web design turned out more or less the way you imagined when you wrote the CSS spec so many years ago?
CSS was partly about design, and partly about markup. We — Bert Bos and I in the beginning, soon others — wanted to improve web design, but also to keep markup clean. I think the first part has succeeded quite well; I continue to be amazed by the things people are able to do with CSS. I’m less certain about the markup. But you didn’t ask me about markup, so I don’t have to answer for it :-)
Outside of web fonts, which part of css needs most work in your opinion? And why?
Lots of work has gone into the CSS specifications. That will continue, but it’s not where work is most needed. What we need now are implementations — interoperable implementations. In order to get them, we need tests and testers. Lots of them. People who are interested in this subject should join the CSS testsuite mailing list.
If you could start all over again, what would you do differently in CSS?
I’ve written a long PhD thesis, in part on that subject. That’s the long answer. The short answer is that we should have published a test suite earlier. We worked hard to get the CSS1 specification right, but implementors don’t really like to read specifications. They will work long hours, however, for so that their code passes a well-designed test. Eric Meyer came to our rescue and made sure CSS1 got a the test suite.
Part two of this interview, where Håkon discusses CSS3 and web design, will be available shortly.
* Maybe we should have asked him what he thinks of that nickname!
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You want to check that link.
Interview with Håkon Wium Lie [Part Two] - CSS3 . Info says:Comment » September 4th, 2007 at 10:50 pm
[...] Here’s the concluding part of our interview with Håkon (you can read the first part here). [...]
[...] latest Webkit builds now support the @font-face rule, which we wrote about some time ago. Recent articles by Håkon Wium Lie had indicated that Opera might be first to market with this, but the Webkit team [...]
You can already use TrueType webfonts using 100% CSS. I’ve written a script that replaces text nodes with images of that text using TrueType fonts. It works on all major browsers (IE/Firefox/Opera/Safari) and when TrueType fonts are finally available you do not need to make any adjustments to your stylesheets. It supports @font-face as well.
You do need a PHP capable webserver at the moment for the rendering of the images.
In comparison to sIFR it probably requires a bit more bandwidth, but you get to use almost all CSS text related properties. It requires no changes to your HTML code, and it does not require any manual work.