[html5] Accessing the user's installed fonts

Bjartur Thorlacius svartman95 at gmail.com
Fri Jul 26 18:19:14 PDT 2013

On 07/24/2013 03:02 PM, Oliver Sartun wrote:
> for all I know it's not possible to retrieve a list of all fonts a
> user has installed on his system via JavaScript. Is that correct?
AFAIK, yes.

> Is a solution to this problem in the making? Or hasn't this been
> addressed yet? Or does a solution already exist that I'm not aware of?
AFAIK, no. There are technical details that should be given some thought 
before an API to system fonts is implemented, such as the fact that the 
exact set of font that you have installed might be unique enough to 
effectively identify you, and thus track you.

A defining characteristic of web apps is that, aside from execution 
speed and networking, they're equally broken everywhere—independent of 
your local selection of fonts. The normal way to go about selecting a 
set of fonts is by passing around a list of URIs of fonts in a 
W3C/WHATWG approved format.

You have already suggested that access to some information is necessary. 
Now we need to reach a consensus on how necessary the information is, 
how hard it is to get without a browser API. The API has to be both 
useful enough and simple enough. And it'll either need to be 
asynchronous, like just about everything else in JavaScript, or 
otherwise account for the fact that a user may not let every web page he 
visits know about every font he has installed.
And consider how the information would be accessed using existing web 
technologies: OAuth HTTP uri-list. Ponder whether access to local fonts 
is to specific of a function to be supported explicitly by web browsers.

Well, web „browsers“, anyway.

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