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Faster Is Better, Especially for Non-Latin Fonts «

Faster Is Better, Especially for Non-Latin Fonts


David Harned in Learning on April 15, 2014

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 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.