Advantages of Font Icon Replacement

Note: We are moving the topics of this forum and it will be deleted at some point

Publish your own request for comments/change or patches for the next version of phpBB. Discuss the contributions and proposals of others. Upcoming releases are 3.2/Rhea and 3.3.
MarkT2
Registered User
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:49 am

Re: Advantages of Font Icon Replacement

Post by MarkT2 » Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:07 pm

That's an interesting point EXreaction, I welcome the idea of people testing it out for themselves for conflicts and any other issues.

I don't see any font conflicts taking place, as the font sets are additional to those already running. IcoMoon claims to support IE7 upwards with no problems (when running the supplied IE js for IE7). The only issue I think raised on GitHub was for IE9 raising IcoMoon's own characters (not the others) by a small percentage off the baseline, so maybe something to do with the way he built his own font set, or a bug in IE9. Not an issue for small fonts, but could be if they are used at large/very large (font) sizes.

I produced my first icon today using InkScape, and it only took a few mins, so I may be able to produce some base icons that others could refine and edit if they want.

User avatar
Pony99CA
Registered User
Posts: 986
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:35 am
Location: Hollister, CA
Contact:

Re: Advantages of Font Icon Replacement

Post by Pony99CA » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:06 am

MarkT2 wrote:Maybe some here are in the wrong forum, it says phpBB's testing ground of bleeding edge code, not to find spurious and inaccurate reasons to avoid using bleeding edge code.
To coin a phrase, "really?" Besides what the others have said, this site is for the "bleeding edge" of phpBB, not the bleeding edge of Web development in general. The phpBB developers want phpBB to be supported by a majority of Web hosts (that's why they don't require the bleeding edge of MySQL or PHP, for example) and users (that's why they support older browsers).

So the person in the wrong forum may be you. ;)
MarkT2 wrote:These web designers think that font icons are a useful tool, great stylistically, and provide easy css to overcome any objections. Worth a read:
http://blog.stephenwyattbush.com/2012/0 ... -icon-font
http://css-tricks.com/html-for-icon-font-usage/
HTML 5 and CSS 3 provide a lot of cool features, but that doesn't mean that every Web site should use them right away. People without browsers capable of using those features should be able to use the site, even if it's not as pretty or if some functions are more difficult to use.

I hate going to sites that require IE 9 or above (my employer is stuck on IE 8) and tell me to upgrade my browser (if I could, I would have). Even the IcoMoon app does that:
Please upgrade your browser or install Google Chrome Frame to use this app.
Nice.

If I'm building a board, do I want it usable by 99% of people but not technically on the bleeding edge, or do I want it usable by 75% (or less, depending on what's used) of people but totally cutting edge? Web designers are one of the few groups that would probably opt for the latter.

Plus, you haven't addressed the license issue, which I suspect will be a huge deal to the phpBB team. From everything that I've read from them, they want GPL, not something else.
MarkT2 wrote:That's an interesting point EXreaction, I welcome the idea of people testing it out for themselves for conflicts and any other issues.
I think the point was that if you want this feature, then you should do the research to see how well it works in other browsers and other languages. You may get others to help, but it's your RFC to justify.

And don't get me wrong -- it sounds very interesting. But if I can't use it in my browser at work, I have to give it a -1.

Steve
Silicon Valley Pocket PC (http://www.svpocketpc.com)
Creator of manage_bots and spoof_user (ask me)
Need hosting for a small forum with full cPanel & MySQL access? Contact me or PM me.

MarkT2
Registered User
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:49 am

Re: Advantages of Font Icon Replacement

Post by MarkT2 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 6:17 am

Pony99CA wrote:Besides what the others have said, this site is for the "bleeding edge" of phpBB, not the bleeding edge of Web development in general. The phpBB developers want phpBB to be supported by a majority of Web hosts (that's why they don't require the bleeding edge of MySQL or PHP, for example) and users (that's why they support older browsers).
Sorry, for any offence taken by my 'bleeding edge' comment. I understand what you say. I don't see Font Icons as being bleeding edge, apart from being new and potentially useful (although as pointed out dingbats have been around with fonts forever), and a way of preventing phpbb looking scrappy on high definition displays, and on tablets with pinch and zoom.
Pony99CA wrote:I hate going to sites that require IE 9 or above (my employer is stuck on IE 8) and tell me to upgrade my browser (if I could, I would have). Even the IcoMoon app does that:
Please upgrade your browser or install Google Chrome Frame to use this app.
Nice.
That's to use the app, not the fonts, big difference. Our forum users will not need to use the app to enjoy the benefits of font icons. The app works better in Chrome anyway. They do show that the font icons display in the browsers that can't run the app. At the end of the day it is compatibility across all browsers for the content you want to display that is important, not the ability to run the app that creates and manages the font icons, so I agree with you, this is about giving full access to the final output.
Pony99CA wrote:Plus, you haven't addressed the license issue, which I suspect will be a huge deal to the phpBB team. From everything that I've read from them, they want GPL, not something else.
Well if CC cannot be made to work with GPL, let me know now. I am not a licensing expert.
Pony99CA wrote:I think the point was that if you want this feature, then you should do the research to see how well it works in other browsers and other languages. You may get others to help, but it's your RFC to justify.
Fair enough. I will try to get genuine IE7 and IE8 set up for testing but I will need help on the languages, although I can't see it as a problem,

User avatar
Pony99CA
Registered User
Posts: 986
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 2:35 am
Location: Hollister, CA
Contact:

Re: Advantages of Font Icon Replacement

Post by Pony99CA » Thu Feb 07, 2013 10:31 pm

MarkT2 wrote:
Pony99CA wrote:Besides what the others have said, this site is for the "bleeding edge" of phpBB, not the bleeding edge of Web development in general. The phpBB developers want phpBB to be supported by a majority of Web hosts (that's why they don't require the bleeding edge of MySQL or PHP, for example) and users (that's why they support older browsers).
Sorry, for any offence taken by my 'bleeding edge' comment. I understand what you say. I don't see Font Icons as being bleeding edge, apart from being new and potentially useful (although as pointed out dingbats have been around with fonts forever), and a way of preventing phpbb looking scrappy on high definition displays, and on tablets with pinch and zoom.
Another possibility would be Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), right? That's apparently been around since 1999, but even that seems to require a plug-in for IE 8. :(
MarkT2 wrote:
Pony99CA wrote:I hate going to sites that require IE 9 or above (my employer is stuck on IE 8) and tell me to upgrade my browser (if I could, I would have). Even the IcoMoon app does that:
Please upgrade your browser or install Google Chrome Frame to use this app.
Nice.
That's to use the app, not the fonts, big difference.
True, but I haven't been able to see icons on either of those sites in IE 8. All I get are empty boxes.

Steve
Silicon Valley Pocket PC (http://www.svpocketpc.com)
Creator of manage_bots and spoof_user (ask me)
Need hosting for a small forum with full cPanel & MySQL access? Contact me or PM me.

Oleg
Posts: 1150
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:38 am
Contact:

Re: Advantages of Font Icon Replacement

Post by Oleg » Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:22 am

Pony99CA wrote: Also, I presume that phpBB would require a package using the GPL license, which Font Awesome doesn't seem to use.

Steve
Code incorporated into phpbb must be available under either gpl or a gpl-compatible license, of which there are many.

Oleg
Posts: 1150
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:38 am
Contact:

Re: Advantages of Font Icon Replacement

Post by Oleg » Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:35 am

OFL has some confusing wording and is somewhere between questionable and gpl-incompatible. I would suggest asking font authors if they intend for their fonts to be usable under gpl, and in that case perhaps dual-licensing fonts under ofl and gpl. Keep in mind phpbb requires either gpl v2 or gpl v2 or later, gpl v3 will not work.

MIT is gpl-compatible.

CC-BY is gpl-incompatible, but then fontawesome says attribution is optional. If they don't need it, dropping CC-BY requirement will remove one licensing obstacle.

Oleg
Posts: 1150
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:38 am
Contact:

Re: Advantages of Font Icon Replacement

Post by Oleg » Sat Feb 09, 2013 10:51 am

MarkT2 wrote: Maybe some here are in the wrong forum, it says phpBB's testing ground of bleeding edge code, not to find spurious and inaccurate reasons to avoid using bleeding edge code.
That simply refers to the fact that area51 runs current development code of phpbb itself.

MarkT2
Registered User
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:49 am

Re: Advantages of Font Icon Replacement

Post by MarkT2 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 11:01 am

Thanks Oleg, I already apologised for that statement.

User avatar
hanakin Online
Infrastructure Team
Infrastructure Team
Posts: 794
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:02 pm
Contact:

Re: Advantages of Font Icon Replacement

Post by hanakin » Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:18 am

Ok as an experienced developer who has tested and used IcoMoon and custom fonts on several projects before maybe I can clarify somethings.

1. license is not an issue as the license is based on the icons used. IconMoon is a webApp that takes SVG files and creates font file sin various formats to be used in your designs. If you create all the icons yourself via illustrator than the license is what you make it.

2. The compatibility for those in other countries is not an issue either as it is a separate font that is loaded via CSS.

3. As far as the comment about SEO this is also not an issue as you are using CSS to add the icon. Proper implementation would be to use text that is hidden via css and replaced with said icon preserving SEO

4. As for browser compatibility it works on all browsers that support @font-face natively which is the most supported CSS3 feature and for those that do not an easy fix via JS if necessary.
(When it comes to compatibility I would argue that anything below IE8 should not be supported in its entirety. We should be serving them their own version of the site anyway. Google does not even support IE8 anymore! which I feel is a little to progressive, but understandable as they are trying to market Chrome. )

Downsides
1. It would require an additional HTTP request (marginal as it has small sizes than the sprites it would replace)
2. Limits the customization of the theme inherently due to the mor skilled knowledge required to use/implement them
3. Adds alot of extra markup to implement as every link that requires an icon would need to have an <i> added to it to house the icon.
4. Depending on the amount of icons adds a lot of CSS weight to implement as well as classes to all the links to hide the text they contain.
5. Limited to MONOCHROME design aesthetics (only 1 color flat icons)

MarkT2
Registered User
Posts: 9
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:49 am

Re: Advantages of Font Icon Replacement

Post by MarkT2 » Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:32 am

Thanks for your input hankie. I'm not suggesting replacement of all icons, as some as you say require more work than others, and they are as you say better suited to the icons that are not multi coloured.

The icons I have replaced with no difficulty, with no css changes, and good results are in overall_header (icons next to links in headerbar and footer bar) and in viewtopic: icons next to Board Index, Unsubscribe and Bookmark.

I can see how other icons are 'harder' requiring more changes to css, when replacing background images, like the 'top' icon in posts, but probably just as much css gets taken out as gets put in.

Post Reply