Launching FONTSMACK, Part 2

Lesson learned, I hope. Jeff Croft put it best when he said:

The bottom line is that this may not break the letter of their law, but it certainly breaks the spirit of it.

With that, I won't bother waiting to hear back from the foundries. No commercial fonts will be available on the site (unless I get a really nice e-mail back that says, "Sure!" But how likely is that?). As a result, I'll be revising the site to be more of a general font repository of freeware and shareware fonts (do we need another? I don't know but I have the domain name, I might as well use it). As well, I'll still offer a sIFR'd version of the font which will be great for people who don't have the Flash IDE and for font preview, too.

On a more educational note, I also learned a thing or two about font licensing. Never assume that because something is possible that something is legal. Some font foundries such as ITC and Linotype actually have special Internet licensing when the font is used in an editable form. Whether sIFR falls into this category is still, actually, unclear to me.

Also, I am aware that a new version of sIFR would likely require a re-export of the SWF's but that's a given when depending on third-party software. I just hope a new version isn't coming out next week or something. :) Although, it'd be great if the developers of sIFR programmed in backwards compatibility for the current version (Mark Wubben, I think I'm looking at you)!

Published July 01, 2005 · Updated September 14, 2006
Categorized as Other
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Mark Wubben said on July 02, 2005

Nothing soon, Jonathan. I was just talking about possibilities ;-)

I'll keep the backwards compatibility stuff in mind, though.

Brian said on July 02, 2005

I think the best way to handle a program like this is to make it able to read font files (so don't embed them) the designer already has. I'm not sure if that's possible, and I'll assume it's not because it seems like a pretty common-sense way of handling things, but that would pretty much solve everything.

Mark Wubben said on July 02, 2005

Brian, that wouldn't work because the font files will still need to be downloaded to the client.

sosa said on July 03, 2005

And... if you do not forget about foreign users we will love your site.Unfortunately for now all that sexy sIFRed fonts on fontsmack are pretty useless for us.

Yeah, my english is crap.-

Jonathan Snook said on July 03, 2005

Sosa: I haven't forgotten about international users. I've been revising the functionality to make it more practical. For each font, there will be the ability to upload multiple font files. That way, the basic character set can be made available along with additional character sets.

I did it this way instead of just exporting the font with all characters because I didn't want file size to get out of control.

Philippe said on July 04, 2005

You may want to explore SWFC ( or SWFMILL ( to automate the creation of th sIFR fonts.

Jonathan Snook said on July 04, 2005

sosa: One of the biggest drawbacks that I'm discovering in exporting the SWFs is that a number of fonts just don't have the extended characters in them. I'll still be exporting them with full latin character sets by default. That way it should be fairly easy to see which fonts will or won't work.

Philippe: thanks for the heads up. I'll see if those can help me out at all.

sosa said on July 04, 2005

Special charachters that I usually export when using sIFR for spanish text are these:


I hope that could be useful to you, and we really appreciate your interest in foreign users a hurra for you ;)

Jonathan Snook said on July 05, 2005

Philippe: Just a followup to the auto-generation of sIFR fonts. I came across an article on CommunityMX which has a code sample that can batch export the SWFs for me. I just tried it and it works extremely well.

Philippe said on July 05, 2005

Using JSFL works too. The tools I suggested just don't require to own the Flash IDE...

P.J. Onori said on May 03, 2006

Thank you for the article - I actually found this via Google as the idea popped in my head of doing something similar. It seems as though you saved me a lot of grief. :)

Sorry, comments are closed for this post. If you have any further questions or comments, feel free to send them to me directly.