fonts.com blog
Posts Tagged ‘dynamic subsetting’

by David Harned

Dynamic Subsetting

Seems like things on the Web are always getting faster. With customers demanding more speed and an increasing percentage of traffic coming from mobile devices, speed is paramount. Improvements can be made by reducing the size of data that is transferred or by improving the efficiency of a system’s processes. We’ve employed both of these techniques to drastically boost our patent-pending dynamic subsetting technology. I’ll share some results later on. But for now, let’s just say we were very pleased – even startled – with the results and think you will be, too.

What is Dynamic Subsetting?

If your content is written in English, German, Spanish, French or other languages that use the Latin alphabet, you may be unaware of the challenges faced by those working with content in East Asian languages. While most Latin fonts have file sizes under 100KB, the broad character sets of the Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese and Korean writing systems can push these fonts into the MBs – making Web fonts impractical for sites using these languages.Dynamic Subsetting

Dynamic subsetting resolves this issue by evaluating the content on the page and creating a font on the fly containing only the characters needed to display the content on the page. This process can cut the file size down to kilobytes. The technology uses our JavaScript publishing method – using a single line of code on your pages — and is included with your Fonts.com Web Fonts subscription .

Server-side processing changes

This technology has helped open up a world of typographic possibilities for those developing sites in Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Over the last few months, we have been working to make this experience better — we have refactored and optimized our systems, and have seen some amazing improvements including gains of over 90% on server-side processing with Traditional Chinese fonts. This equated to a 61% speed gain in download speed to the page.

Of course these figures are based on our internal testing, but we’re confident you’ll notice the improvement as well. Take a look:

If you’re already using dynamic subsetting, we invite you to share your experience in the comments.


by Alan Tam

One of the best things about my job is being able to engage with all of you, our customers and partners, to better understand your business and how we at Monotype Imaging can deliver not only the IP, but also the technology to help you succeed. One trend that has really taken off the past few months is the extension of branded digital content, especially dynamic and context aware content, to mobile platforms and multiple languages. However, this creates new challenges for both your development and delivery workflows.

By now, most of you have (hopefully) heard about our patent-pending dynamic subsetting technology that helps brands improve the performance and user experience when using Web fonts. Initially developed to reduce the larger file sizes of Chinese, Japanese and Korean fonts, dynamic subsetting automatically detects and delivers a Web font containing only the characters needed to render the page, thus dramatically reducing font file size. Smaller font files translate to faster speeds, performance and load times of your content which in turn results in superior customer experiences – especially when that content is delivered to mobile devices over mobile networks.

While Fonts.com Web Fonts has used dynamic subsetting for all of our East Asian fonts since its inception in 2010, we’d like to explore implementing the technology for other languages and use cases including mobile targeted content, dynamic branded content, social apps or rich media ads. With that, I’d like to extend to you a cordial invitation to check out our new dynamic subsetting demo site at www.fontsubsetter.com.

P.S. – For an even more dramatic experience, try it out on your tablet or mobile phone!

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