State of Text Rendering 2024

From Behdad Esfahbod’s blog:

In this survey paper, I cover advances in the OpenType standard and the Open Source text stack and applications since 2009. I also discuss the future advances currently underway.

In broad strokes, OpenType added support for color fonts, variable fonts, and the Universal Shaping Engine. The Free & Open Source stack supports all of these advances at the lower level, but application UI support has been slower to arrive. The Open Source text stack also gained enormous market-share when Android and Google Chrome fully embraced it.Looking forward, there is a Rust migration of the text stack underway, which will unify font compilation and consumption under a safe programming language. Incremental Font Transfer will enable streaming fonts to web browsers. And my proposed Wasm-fonts will enable more expressive fonts.

One more example of why the statement “We stand on the shoulders of giants” is true.


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