June 14, 2010

WordPress Text Replacement Plugin

Despite great Evangelism about the breakthroughs of Web2.0, the design limitations of HTML still live on Рa total lack of CSS3 uptake, and a highly restrictive set of web fonts Рbarely three serifs and sans serifs to match. While possibilities with content and navigation have been opened up, design limitations of standard web pages are leaving DHTML standing for Dilapidated HTML, and has driven so many style-conscious sites to be poorly implemented in flash Рwhich due to a lack of complex positioning tools can be very ignorant of viewport size. The birth of sIFR was a breakthrough crossover between Flash and HTML, but this still comes with some restrictions and risks that many companies find hard to justify on their sites.

At Acumen, we’ve never wanted to restrain designers too much by forcing them to use web fonts, but then we also take on a responsibility to offer our customers sites that they can fully control. Matting down a title font for each page makes it hard for webmasters without a design background to make the changes they need, and so we’ve used a number of tools along the way to bring that control back to the maintainers.

Key among these is a system to render non-webfonts on the fly, determined by user-generated content. You can see this in use on the Acumen site, for instance the use of Bank Gothic on the title of this page. This is accomplished using a WordPress plugin we’ve written to replace specific page tags and CSS selectors – and it works fairly seemlessly, requiring only Javascript and PHP to run.

Anyway, by request, we’ve decided to release the plugin for general use – enjoy!