Font rendering in browser platforms

We are seeing a growing trend on the web of platform diversification. There have always been a variety of operating systems and browsers on the web, but for sometime the vast majority of users have been Windows/IE. In recent years this trend has been changing, first with Firefox and now with the expanding adoption of OS X. The result is an increase in the diversity of commonly used web browsing platforms.

I recently encountered some issues relating to how fonts are rendered in different platforms. I was commented on a friend’s blog that I found it hard to read the code sections of his blog as the font rendered quite small.

Having recently moved to a Mac OS X system for development in conjunction with Parallels running Windows XP allows me to review and test several web browsing platforms from a single machine. My results are below:

Comparison of 'Courier' font on multiple browsers/OSes
(Click for view full size image!)

Note that in Safari the text is so small and choppy that it is nearly unreadable.

Comparison of 'Arial' font on multiple browsers/OSes

(Click for view full size image!)

Arial tends to be much more uniform in display size across all examples.


Special thanks to Jeffry Houser

2 Responses to “Font rendering in browser platforms”

  1. 1 Jim November 15, 2007 at 6:40 pm

    I knew there had to be *something* bad about those Macs! 😉

  2. 2 thesaj November 16, 2007 at 9:23 am

    Actually there is!

    I discovered a really bad, and IMHO frankly terrifying behavior of Macs the other day….

    If you try to merge two folders as you’ve been doing on Windows for years, OS X will actually delete the one folder and replace it with the new one. It won’t even move a copy to the ‘Trash’ bin. The result is you can easily and irreparably lose files.

    : (

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November 2007

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Nxtbook MediaFormer Employer - Great Company

The Saj... "Dark Lord of the SWF"