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The Google Font API: an Introduction

In this first part of a series, I provide you with a hopefully approachable introduction to using the Google Font API. As you will see through the examples I'm going to develop, embedding some commercial font families into a web page is an extremely straightforward process with this API, very similar to including external style sheets.

Author Info:
By: Alejandro Gervasio
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June 15, 2010
  1. · The Google Font API: an Introduction
  2. · Embedding commercial fonts on a web page using the Google Font API
  3. · Including the earlier CSS styles in a web page
  4. · Embedding multiple font families in a web page

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The Google Font API: an Introduction
(Page 1 of 4 )

For years web designers have been forced to use a limited number of fonts on web pages due to the legal restrictions imposed by most commercial foundries on utilizing their typeface families. Of course, the topic has always been surrounded by a strong halo of controversy, as some claim that those restrictions simply shouldn't exist anymore, and some believe exactly the opposite. 

In the last couple of years, however, this rather conflict-ridden scenario has started to change for the good, benefiting the involved parties with the introduction of the so-called font embedding approach. As you may have already heard, nowadays there are a few companies, with TypeKit being quite possibly the most popular, which will let you legally embed commercial fonts on your (X)HTML documents by paying a decent fee.

While it's fair to say that the font embedding service offered by TypeKit is quite impressive, especially because of the number of commercial fonts that they support (at least at the time of this writing), the other big contender has already taken the first steps into the world of font embedding, and with remarkable impact. In this case, I'm talking about Google, which now provides designers with a respectable (and hopefully growing) number of commercial typefaces that can be embedded for free on web pages via a simple interface called the Google Font API.

Does this mean that the Google Font API will introduce a true revolution into the way that a website's front-end is developed? Well, time will tell; due to the always-changing nature of the web, it's extremely hard to hold a more solid opinion on the subject. Nothing stops us, however, from taking a good look at the API and learning how to use its features.

With that idea in mind, in this article series I'm going to provide you with a decent variety of code samples that will get you started using the Google Font API. In this way you will be able to spice up the visual presentation of your web pages with the inclusion of some commercial fonts. Now, let's leave the preliminaries behind and begin discovering the benefits offered by this brand new Google API. Let's get going!

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