SIFR and Dynamic Web Fonts

The name of Scalable Inman Flash Replacement may not ring a bell with the majority of web users, but its shorter form, sIFR, is very important to those people involved in dynamic web page designs. The reason for its importance is it greatly increases the number of web fonts that can be used online. Because web browsers translate pages in different manners, only a certain number of web fonts exist that will be rendered well by all of the browsers, leaving web designers little choice when it comes to displaying text. The sIFR technique changes this by replacing standard text with Flash components that can display any fonts, thus increasing the amount of web typography options.

The basic technology behind sIFR comes from the JavaScript engine. The exact program is actually open source, meaning that developers can make changes to the source code to meet their own individual needs. By offering native CSS support, the technique can give text on any page a rich appearance and can even include animation of the text if it is desired. In replacing the need for a specific font to be installed on the end user’s computer, the JavaScript program makes it possible for developers to spend less time worrying about if a font will be displayed correctly across all web browsers and computer types.

While the sIFR technology improves the range of web typography options, there are some critical points about it as well. In particular, the use of Ad Blocker programs that has grown prevalent in the past years can limit the proper rendering of the text image due to its JavaScript nature. These Ad Blocker programs stop Java from being loaded, meaning that the element will be seen by the browser as an advertisement instead of an integral part of the web page. This problem with sIFR can be solved by including exceptions to the Ad Blocker program to allow the web fonts to be displayed correctly.