The FontFace jQuery Plugin

    Craig Sharkie
    Craig Sharkie
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    From the safety of the trenches the browser wars are still being fought. One of the war’s toughest battlefronts is @font-face. You’re used to needing proprietary extensions to use new CSS3 properties—we can deal with that. Even hardened veterans, though, can find themselves unprepared for just how much browser-specific code is required to implement @font-face successfully. Time to prepare yourself! Ready?

    @font-face {
      font-family: "BestFontEver";
      src: url('file/path/filename.eot');
      src: local('☺'), url('file/path/filename.woff') format('woff'), url('file/path/filename.ttf') format('truetype'), url('file/path/filename.svg#BestFontEver') format('svg');
    }
    And even that doesn’t set any elements to use your new BestFontEver font; it simply registers that you want to use it, and requests the browser source that new font. The good news is that once registered, the font can be used the way we’ve always used font-family. Let’s say we have a sans-serif font:
    #element, .elements {
      font-family: "BestFontEver", Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;
    }
    
    So, why so many options when registering?

    Taking Stock of the Combatants

    • .eot (or Embedded OpenType) font files are Microsoft’s troops, so if you want BestFontEver to appear in Internet Explorer, you’ll need an .eot version.
    • Web Open Font Format, or .woff, is the newest soldier in the conflict. It was developed by Mozilla and is supported by Firefox, Chrome, Opera, and IE9.
    • Next come TrueType Fonts with the .ttf extension, which Apple developed in the late 1980s. These fonts are supported by Safari, Opera, Firefox, and Chrome
    • The SVG format? That’s there for platforms that embrace SVG like your iOS devices: iPhones, iPads, and anything else that runs Mobile Safari.
    • And that last src entry? local('☺')? It’s there in case a user that’s viewing your page already has an installed font named BestFontEver. It protects your BestFontEver font by not loading their local font. This technique was developed by Paul Irish, so you can check out his explanation of why it’s a good idea.

    Your Super Soldier

    So where does that leave you? The battle lines are drawn, but the fog of war won’t be lifting any time soon. What you want is a way to get @font-face-sourced fonts to your pages quickly and easily. That’s where jQuery comes in! We can use a plugin to be our foot soldier while we sit back in HQ and wait for the browsers to fight it out. Then all we’ll need to do is provide a jQuery.css()-style object. The FontFace jQuery plugin
    is a great way to apply fonts to sites you don’t control, to quickly prototype how fonts will look during design, to give less experienced developers greater control, or even—if you choose—for your production-ready pages:
    $("#element, .elements").fontface({
      fontName : "BestFontEver",
      fontFamily : ["Best Font Ever", "BestFontEver", "Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif"],
      filePath : "/_fonts/",
      fileName : "bestfontever-regular-webfont"
    });
    That’s it, and that’s the long version! After tweaking the plugin a little, we can reduce the requirements to just this:
    $("#element, .elements").fontface({
      fontName : "BestFontEver",
      fileName : "bestfontever-regular-webfont"
    });
    You can remove fontFamily
    details fairly safely, and still dictate the stack like so:
    $("#element, .elements").fontface({
      fontName : "BestFontEver",
      fontStack : "Helvetica, Verdana, Arial, sans-serif",
      fileName : "bestfontever-regular-webfont"
    });
    To remove the need to supply filePath details, we’ve just set a default in the plugin. Look for the defaults object in the plugin code:
    defaults = {
      filePath: "/_fonts/",//change this to your font directory location
    You can still supply any one-off filePaths you need, but setting it in the plugin makes it fire-and-forget. Even better, though, if you have a font that has different weights or styles, you can use these:
    $("#element, .elements").fontface({
      fontName : "BestFontEver",
      fontWeight : "bold",
      fileName : "bestfontever-bold-webfont"
    });
    
    $("#element em").fontface({
      fontName : "BestFontEver",
      fontStyle : "italic",
      fileName : "bestfontever-italic-webfont"
    });
    	
    Grab the plugin
    and try it for yourself! You can find great, free @font-face-ready typefaces at sites like http://code.google.com/webfonts/ (for TrueType Fonts), http://webfonts.info, http://www.fontsquirrel.com/, and http://www.fontspring.com/
    . And one last tip? If you’re fairly sure that a big chunk of your audience will have your font installed, you can use its usual name in your font stack to load their local version. It’s actually what we did in our first example. Using the accepted name—Best Font Ever—in your font stack before the name you associate with the @font-face loaded version—BestFontEver—means we default to using a local version if it’s available. If it’s not installed, we’ll progress down our stack till something sticks and that’ll hopefully be our @font-face.

    We’re On Your Side

    War is heck, but with allies like jQuery’s @font-face
    plugin, you’ll be winning the war before you know it!

    Frequently Asked Questions about the FontFace jQuery Plugin

    What is the FontFace jQuery Plugin and how does it work?

    The FontFace jQuery Plugin is a powerful tool that allows web developers to easily implement custom fonts on their websites. It works by loading the font files from your server and embedding them into your website using CSS. This plugin uses the @font-face rule, which is a CSS feature that allows you to specify online fonts to display text on your web pages. When you use the FontFace jQuery Plugin, you can ensure that your chosen font will display correctly on all browsers that support the @font-face rule.

    How do I install the FontFace jQuery Plugin?

    To install the FontFace jQuery Plugin, you need to download the plugin file from the official website and include it in your project. After that, you can use the jQuery syntax to call the plugin and specify the font you want to use. Remember to include the path to the font file on your server.

    What are the benefits of using the FontFace jQuery Plugin?

    The FontFace jQuery Plugin offers several benefits. It simplifies the process of using custom fonts, saving you time and effort. It also ensures cross-browser compatibility, meaning your chosen font will display correctly on all browsers that support the @font-face rule. This plugin also allows for faster loading times as it only loads the necessary font files.

    Can I use multiple custom fonts with the FontFace jQuery Plugin?

    Yes, you can use multiple custom fonts with the FontFace jQuery Plugin. You just need to call the plugin for each font you want to use, specifying the font file for each one. This allows you to use different custom fonts for different elements on your website.

    What types of font files can I use with the FontFace jQuery Plugin?

    The FontFace jQuery Plugin supports all font file types that are supported by the @font-face rule. This includes TrueType Fonts (TTF), Web Open Font Format (WOFF), and Scalable Vector Graphics font (SVG).

    How can I ensure that my custom fonts load quickly?

    To ensure that your custom fonts load quickly, you should optimize your font files. This can be done by using a font file format that is compressed, such as WOFF. You can also use a font hosting service that offers fast delivery times.

    What happens if a browser does not support the @font-face rule?

    If a browser does not support the @font-face rule, it will not be able to display the custom font. In this case, the browser will use the next font in your CSS font stack.

    Can I use the FontFace jQuery Plugin with a Content Management System (CMS)?

    Yes, you can use the FontFace jQuery Plugin with a CMS. You just need to include the plugin file in your CMS and call the plugin in your theme’s CSS file.

    How can I troubleshoot issues with the FontFace jQuery Plugin?

    If you are having issues with the FontFace jQuery Plugin, you should first check that you have included the plugin file correctly in your project. You should also check that the path to your font file is correct. If you are still having issues, you can consult the plugin’s documentation or seek help from the community.

    Can I use the FontFace jQuery Plugin for commercial projects?

    Yes, you can use the FontFace jQuery Plugin for commercial projects. However, you should always check the license of the font you are using to ensure that commercial use is allowed.