Ankhou Graphic Design

Web development, graphic design, and photography by Ian Houghton, based in Revelstoke, BC.

sIFR: easier than you might think

2 Comments | posted 13/09/09

I added sIFR (Scalable Inman Flash Replacement) titles to the site a couple of weeks ago. I was going to write about it at the time, but it’s been a busy time for university. Some seat-of-the-pants essays were submitted.

sIFR is a way to dynamically replace small blocks of text on your website using JavaScript with an identically sized Flash movie that has an embedded font; in short, it allows you to write headlines in any font you wish, rather than restricting you to ‘web safe’ fonts (i.e. the most commonly available – Verdana, Georgia, Arial etc).

sIFR has been around for a while. Mike Davis, one of the original developers, wrote about the introduction of version 2.0 back in 2005. The technology now appears to have reached version 3, and is still undergoing development.

Of course there’s more than one way to replace headlines – you can create images yourself, which has the downside of having to edit the image every time you want to update the content, isn’t search engine friendly, and doesn’t allow people to copy and paste. You can also use a couple of other slightly more complicated dynamic font replacement systems.

As many of these are more complicated, more limited, or not as established as sIFR, I chose to stick with it for my site.

resources i used

2 responses to “sIFR: easier than you might think”

  1. oh, I see. I was jiving at your use of flash because I’m part of a vocal minority of web users who passionately hate flash. I block flash elements from loading unless i click on them (though, I’ve now added your site to my whitelist so that flash loads automatically). Though as much as I scorn it, I must admit that flash’s cross-platform consistency is fairly awesome and good for solving these sorts of problems.

    In related news, have you seen the @font-face CSS rule? Works nicely with firefox & webkit (and would be how it’s done in a perfect world).

  2. I understand your feelings about Flash I think, it can be really obnoxious sometimes. In this case I think it’s pretty subtle and useful though, especially (as you say) because it’s cross-platform. I use AdBlock to prevent anything remotely annoying that’s Flash-related from bothering me. :) I’ve had a look at @font-face, and I think it’s got great potential for the future. The lack of anti-aliasing really bugs me on that example page though, it makes the font kerning seem very haphazard.

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