Archive for March, 2011

New Text Layout Framework, same font problems

I guess this has been said before, but I really feel like ranting. I will post a positive article later on about TLF, but for now I need to vent.

So I guess the problem come from the fact that I thought the new Text Layout Framework would solve all problems relating to fonts and Flash. But I guess that was hoping for too much. TLF does have a good side, it does make your text look better. I was skeptic at first, but it really does. The problem is, it has a lot of bad sides.

First problem is that it will add between 100k to 160k to your file size (pretty much forget about it for banners) and that is for every SWF that uses it. I don’t know about you but the sites I build usually contain at least 4 SWFs, so that’s nearly a megabyte just for the text engine, you’re not embedding the fonts yet or adding any content. There are ways to circumvent that but you still have to figure it out and it involves another workflow.

Secondly, there is not much documentation about it. I have been looking and it is pretty hard to figure out what is working or not. Seems like TLF changed since it was introduced, so some information is not relevant anymore. The other thing is that there are multiple ways to use it, you can use TextBlock and TextLine, you can use TLFTextField or you can use TextFlow. It gets pretty confusing at some point, cause you don’t solve the same problems the same ways with each of the three option I named before.

Lastly, it doesn’t work in every situation, I gave the banner example previously, but using the Text Layout Framework is also very expensive CPU wise. For example I was making this combobox which had an opened state with about a hundred items in it. Well it made the site become very slow. I was using TextLines and I had to revert to using good old TextFields. Which introduced a new problem, the font format that you use for TLF is not compatible with the old TextFields, so in this case I had to embed the same font twice, once DF3 and once DF4…

Which brings me to another point, which not necessarily negative, but the TLF does introduce new terminology and knowledge. WTF is DF3 or DF4 or embedCFF. So now your Flash baggage has to be bigger, what about when Molehill comes out, we will have to be interface experts, typography experts and 3D experts???

Well I promise next article will be positive.

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