In order to create web pages in Indian languages, the fonts need to be delivered to the local machines. This can be done using various mechanisms, such as -
Manual Download: This is an elementary mechanism, wherein the user is supposed to download and install the fonts, which allow the user to view the pages. This process is cumbersome and most often becomes a reason for fewer hits on the website.
Automatic Download: This is a refined version of the manual download, where the user downloads a compact file, which installs by itself on the local machine.
Dynamic Delivery: To overcome the shortcomings of the preceding methods, which give an open invitation to virus attack owing to physical download, a new mechanism has been devised. With this mechanism, physical download becomes unnecessary. The font information is available only when the relevant page is being visited. The Indian language content becomes as accessible as the English content to the Internet page visitor.
More on Dynamic fonts
Two technologies are available to support dynamic delivery. These are:
- Portable Font Resource (P F R) - This is based on the web font technology from Bit Stream. PFR is closely coupled with Netscape browsers (4.03 and above) while it also performs well with Internet Explorer (Ver 4.0 and above). In Internet Explorer however, only a one-time download of a control on the client's machine is allowed. The dynamic font generated will have the extension as .pfr.
- PFRs also have the URL security and can be locked to particular URLs. PFRs need Encoding changes in Internet Explorer 5.0. Occasionally in IE 5.0 the user need to make the encoding as 'User Defined' to view the page properly.
- Embedded Open Type (E O T) - Microsoft's Web Embedding Font Technology (WEFT) is used to generate EOT information. EOTs are best suited for Internet Explorer (IE 4.0 and above). Netscape browsers do not support EOTs.
The dynamic font generated has the extension as .eot. If there is a link to an EOT on a page, then the browser uses these EOTs to display the page with specified fonts. EOTs have specific URL roots so that only specified Web sites can use specific EOTs suitable to them. Once an EOT is prepared it is locked to that URL. The same EOT cannot be reused for some other site.
Note: Any True Type Font can be converted to a Dynamic Font. PFR and EOT can co-exist on a single website. The Browser will sense the dynamic font and accordingly display the content. The content can be created using LEAP or ISM range of software from GIST.