The font Top Level Type

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Network Working Group                                          C. Lilley
Internet-Draft                                                       W3C
Intended status: Standards Track                        January 29, 2016
Expires: August 1, 2016

                        The font Top Level Type


   This memo serves to register and document the "font" Top Level Type,
   under which the Internet Media subtypes for representation formats
   for fonts may be registered.  This document also serves as a
   registration application for a set of intended subtypes, which are
   representative of some existing subtypes already registered under the
   "application" tree by their separate registrations.

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

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   This Internet-Draft will expire on August 1, 2016.

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   Copyright (c) 2016 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
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   ( in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
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   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of

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   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

1.  Introduction

   The process of setting type in computer systems and other forms of
   text presentation systems uses fonts in order to provide visual
   representations of the glyphs.  Just as with images, for example,
   there are a number of ways to represent the visual information of the
   glyphs.  Early font formats often used bitmaps, as these could have
   been carefully tuned for maximum readability at a given size on low-
   resolution displays.  More recently, scalable vector outline fonts
   have come into widespread use: in these fonts, the outlines of the
   glyphs are described, and the presentation system renders the outline
   in the desired position and size.

   This document defines a top-level Internet Media Type type "font"
   under which different representation formats of fonts may be
   registered (e.g. a bitmap or outline formats).  It should be
   emphasized that, just as under the "image" top-level type one does
   not find registration for a specific image, for example, "The Night-
   watch" (by Rembrandt) but instead "JPEG" (a compressed image data
   representation format), so, under "font" one will not find "Courier"
   (the name of a popular font) but perhaps "TTF", "OTF" or "SFNT" (the
   names of commonly used TrueType and OpenType font formats as well as
   their higher-level wrapper format).

2.  Background and Justification

   Historically there has not been a registration of formats for fonts.
   Most recently, there have been several representation formats
   registered as MIME subtypes under the "application" top-level type.
   However, with the rapid adoption of web fonts (based on the data from
   HTTP Archive [1] showing a huge increase in web font usage from 1% in
   the end of 2010 to 50% across all sites in the beginning of 2015)
   custom fonts on the web have become a core web resource.  As the in-
   depth analysis [2] shows, the lack of the intuitive top-level font
   type is causing significant confusion among developers - while
   currently defined font subtypes are severely under-utilized there are
   many more sites that already use non-existent (but highly intuitive)
   media types such as "font/woff", "font/ttf" and "font/truetype".  At
   the same time, the majority of sites resort to using generic types
   such as "application/octet-stream", "text/plain" and "text/html"; or
   use unregistrable types such as "application/x-font-ttf".

   Contrary to our expectations, the officially defined IANA subtypes
   such as "application/font-woff" and "application/font-sfnt" see a
   very limited use - their adoption rates trail far behind as the

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