There's a new feature working its way toward the next release of Vine Type, and it's called ViPR.
ViPR, pronounced "viper," will allow Vine Type designers to specify a font, and several characteristics to use for article titles. ViPR can generate Portable Network Graphics (PNG) images of text on-the-fly, using no hard drive space whatsoever. You'll no longer be limited to standard fonts that are chosen more for their ubiquity than their aesthetics.
Not New - But Noteworthy
ViPR follows in the footsteps of several image replacement technologies such as Shaun Inman's Inman Flash Replacement (IFR,) Mike Davidson's Scalable Inline Flash Replacement (sIFR,) Todd Fahrner's Fahrner Image Replacement (FIR,) and Milan Negovan's .NET Image Replacement (IR) solutions.
So this is nothing new; the techniques have been developed, each solution with its strengths and weaknesses.
The ViPR solution is server-centric meaning that the image processing and text replacement is done by the content management system on the web server, not at the internet browser. This gives ViPR some advantages not found in all image replacement solutions mentioned:
- Choice of image formats. ViPR was designed to generate PNG images, but will also provide the option of serving up Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) images.
- Degrades exceptionally well:
- with or without CSS turned on at the browser.
- With or without images turned on at the browser.
- No third-party app (Flash) required on the client computer. ViPR serves up standard image formats renderend intrinsically by just about every internet browser on the planet.
- Alt text is automatically generated so there are no ill effects on screen readers used by the visually impaired.
- Automatic line wrapping. ViPR allows the designer to limit the width of the image and if the title is too long, ViPR will wrap the text automatically.
- Transparency. ViPR serves up PNG images with transparent backgrounds, allowing page backgrounds to show through.
Font File Not Included
All you'll need is a TrueType or OpenType font file* to reap the benefits of ViPR technology. The font file is merely placed -- not installed -- on the web server. I'm just trying to make this as easy as possible for folks.
Vine Type allows ViPR to be defined on a per-template basis, and since Vine Type allows any number of templates on a website, you can have multiple heading styles if you wish.
By the way, the font currently being served up on this site is Concurso Italian.
* Oh, and Vine Type of course.
reopening comments in light of my comment at 456 Berea Street.