Preferred outline type in 2019 for webfonts and browser compatibility?

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I'm curious what the current advice is on whether TT or PS outlines are preferred for webfonts nowadays.

Years ago the advice was to use TT outlines (based on body text hinting on Windows GDI  + ClearType)

Then an old Typekit blog recommended PS outlines because of horizontal smoothing ( https://blog.typekit.com/2011/07/26/new-from-typekit-improved-font-rendering-on-windows/ )

Now, with DirectWrite being dominant on Windows (at least Chrome browsers), I suppose either format would work.

I've noticed some "webfont generators" are still spitting out TT-outlines regardless of what goes in.  I haven't unpacked any woff2 files from Google fonts to see what format they are using, and I haven't gone through the list of what text rendering engine every browser is using either.

What about other OS/Browser combos: Does anyone have any current "best practice" recommendations?   

Thanks,
Joseph

Comments

  • Thomas Phinney
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    Well, if you are doing variable fonts, TTF is currently very much the way to go.

    Otherwise, I don’t think it is a big deal. There are small advantages in each direction....

    OTF/CFF/PS is often a little smaller. TTF works in a few ancient browsers that OTF does not. People can argue about rendering for years to come, but mostly outline format never matters on Mac, and matters most on Windows for those very few fonts that have extensive manual hinting in TTF, where that is an obvious advantage at very small sizes and/or very old versions of Windows. (And increases the file size.)
  • Claudio Piccinini
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    Well, if you are doing variable fonts, TTF is currently very much the way to go.

    Otherwise, I don’t think it is a big deal. There are small advantages in each direction....

    OTF/CFF/PS is often a little smaller. TTF works in a few ancient browsers that OTF does not. People can argue about rendering for years to come, but mostly outline format never matters on Mac, and matters most on Windows for those very few fonts that have extensive manual hinting in TTF, where that is an obvious advantage at very small sizes and/or very old versions of Windows. (And increases the file size.)
    Ignorant question: when generating versions targeted for the web (aside from the preferred outline format), would manual hinting be recommended, especially in typefaces devised for lenghty texts, or with the current screens quality is that relatively important?
  • Joseph Gimness
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    Well, if you are doing variable fonts, TTF is currently very much the way to go.

    Thanks for the response.  Yes, for variable fonts TT in a WOFF2 wrapper.

     would manual hinting be recommended, 
    I believe hinting is still valuable, as long as it doesn't bloat filesize tremendously.


    I did find this webfont tutorial with some info https://glyphsapp.com/tutorials/webfonts
    The answer was to "go test both types", but it seemed to point towards TT-outlines.