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fusion-plugin-font-loader-react

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This plugin generates font faces and optionally improves percieved font load performance on slow networks.

You can use the font loader plugin in one of two ways:

1) Generate styled font faces (compatible with BaseWeb)

@font-face {
  font-family: 'Lato';
  src: url('/_static/ca614426b50ca7d007056aa00954764b.woff2') format('woff2');
  font-weight: 200;
}
@font-face {
  font-family: 'Lato';
  src: url('/_static/ca104da8af9a2e0771e8fe2b31f8ec1e.woff2') format('woff2');
  font-weight: 700;
}
@font-face {
  font-family: 'Lato';
  src: url('/_static/03b64805a8cd2d53fadc5814445c2fb5.woff2') format('woff2');
  font-weight: 200;
}

2) Generate atomic font faces, which when combined with the included HOC will enable a smoother font loading experience over slow networks

@font-face {
  font-family: 'Lato-Regular';
  src: url('/_static/ca614426b50ca7d007056aa00954764b.woff2') format('woff2');
}
@font-face {
  font-family: 'Lato-Bold';
  src: url('/_static/ca104da8af9a2e0771e8fe2b31f8ec1e.woff2') format('woff2');
}
@font-face {
  font-family: 'Lato-Thin';
  src: url('/_static/03b64805a8cd2d53fadc5814445c2fb5.woff2') format('woff2');
}

What's in this Package?

  1. A Fusion.js plugin that generates @font-faces and optionally preloads fallback fonts based on your font configuration.

  2. A Higher Order Component, withFontLoading.js for smooth loading of custom web fonts using Flash of Faux Text. See https://www.zachleat.com/web/comprehensive-webfonts/#critical-foft-preload for more on this.

Installation

yarn add fusion-plugin-font-loader-react

How do I use it?

Register the plugin and pass it a font configuration object.

Registration

// src/main.js
import App from 'fusion-core';
import FontLoaderReactPlugin, {
  FontLoaderReactConfigToken,
} from 'fusion-plugin-font-loader-react';

export default () => {
  const app = new App(<div />);
  // ...
  app.register(FontLoaderReactConfigToken, fontConfig);
  app.register(FontLoaderReact);
  // ...
  return app;
};

Configuration Object

When registering this plugin you should also register FontLoaderReactConfigToken with a font configuration object. This is a list of font definitions and other properties. The structure of the configuration object depends on which mode you are using the plugin in. The following sections describe how to structure your font config for each mode.

Styled Mode

NOTE: Use Styled Mode if your app uses BaseWeb

Sometimes it's useful to be able to apply different font-weights or font-styles without changing the font-family value. For example it's inconvenient to have to switch font-family just to increase the font-weight when an element is hovered over. Most likely we just want to do this:

const Li = styled('li', {
  fontFamily: 'Lato',
  fontWeight: 200,
  ':hover': {fontWeight: 700},
  marginRight: '12px',
});

Styled Mode Config

To use this plugin in Styled Mode your config object should have withStyleOverloads set to true and pass an array of font files by style. This example will generate the @font-face declaration that follows it. (See type declarations for more details on this data structure)

{
  withStyleOverloads: true,
  'Lato': [
    {
      urls: {
        woff2: assetUrl('ca614426b50ca7d007056aa00954764b.woff2'),
        woff: assetUrl('ca614426b50ca7d007056aa00954764b.woff2'),
      }
      styles: {
        fontWeight: 400,
      }
    },
    {
      urls: {
        woff2: assetUrl('ca104da8af9a2e0771e8fe2b31f8ec1e.woff2'),
        woff: assetUrl('ca104da8af9a2e0771e8fe2b31f8ec1e.woff2')
      }
      styles: {
        fontWeight: 700,
      }
    },
    {
      urls: {
        woff2: assetUrl('03b64805a8cd2d53fadc5814445c2fb5.woff2'),
        woff: assetUrl('03b64805a8cd2d53fadc5814445c2fb5.woff2')
      }
      styles: {
        fontWeight: 200,
      }
    }
  ]
}
@font-face {
  font-family: 'Lato';
  src: url('/_static/ca614426b50ca7d007056aa00954764b.woff2') format('woff2');
  font-weight: 200;
}
@font-face {
  font-family: 'Lato';
  src: url('/_static/ca104da8af9a2e0771e8fe2b31f8ec1e.woff2') format('woff2');
  font-weight: 700;
}
@font-face {
  font-family: 'Lato';
  src: url('/_static/03b64805a8cd2d53fadc5814445c2fb5.woff2') format('woff2');
  font-weight: 200;
}

Styled Mode Config Type

type ConfigType = {
  withStyleOverloads: boolean, // set to true for styled mode
  fonts: {
    [string]: Array<{
      urls:   {woff?: string, woff2: string},
      styles?: {},
    }>
  },
};

NOTE: If you only want to generate styled @font-face declarations you can ignore the remainder of this document.

Performance Mode

By default fonts are lazily loaded. For users on slower networks a lazily loaded font is likely to result in signficant FOUT (flash of unstyled content) or FOIT (flash of invisible content). Preloading all fonts will prevent FOUT and FOIT, but will also compete with the bandwith of other critical resources (e.g. core JavaScript bundles).

This plugin makes it easy to implement FOFT (flash of faux text) as a font loading strategy. With FOFT, you preload only unstyled fonts while continuing to lazy load styled fonts (bold, italic etc. variants). This takes advantage of browsers' ability to synthesize styled font variants (FOFT) when the unstyled font is already loaded, and reduces visual jarring and browser reflow.

For example, if you're using the Lato font family, you can preload Lato-Regular and defer loading of Lato-Bold since the browser can synthesize faux styles for bold and italic versions of available fonts. However, the faux font synthesis algorithm isn't perfect. Font design is an art, which means that there are artistic and ergonomic differences between a synthesized bold style and a hand-crafted font such as Lato-Bold. Ideally we want to use Lato-Bold instead of a synthesized bold, but it's acceptable to temporarily show a synthesized bold while waiting for the true Lato-Bold font to be downloaded and switching over when the download is done. The (less desirable) alternative would be to either block DOMContentLoaded while all Lato variations are downloaded, or asynchronously downloading the entire font family, causing a long period of FOUT/FOIT.

Performance Mode Config

To use the font loader in performance mode withStyleOverloads should be omited (or set to false). The fonts object should contain an property for each font name. Each entry includes a urls property (referencing the font file paths) and (optionally) a fallback property. Finally you need to specify a preloadDepth which tells the font loader how many levels of fallbacks to preload.

// src/font-config.js
import {assetUrl} from 'fusion-core';
export const preloadDepth = 1;
export const fonts = {
  'Lato-Regular': {
    urls: {
      woff: assetUrl('../static/Lato-Regular.woff'),
      woff2: assetUrl('../static/Lato-Regular.woff2'),
    },
    fallback: {
      name: 'Helvetica',
    },
  },
  'Lato-Bold': {
    urls: {
      woff: assetUrl('../static/Lato-Bold.woff')
      woff2: assetUrl('../static/Lato-Bold.woff2'),
    },
    fallback: {
      name: 'Lato-Regular',
      styles: {
        'font-weight': 'bold',
      },
    },
  },
  'Lato-Thin': {
    urls: {
      woff: assetUrl('../static/Lato-Thin.woff'),
      woff2: assetUrl('./static/Lato-Thin.woff2'),
    },
    fallback: {
      name: 'Lato-Regular',
      styles: {
        'font-weight': '100',
      },
    },
  },
};

The generated @font-face for this config should look like this:

@font-face {
  font-family: 'Lato-Regular';
  src: url('/_static/ca614426b50ca7d007056aa00954764b.woff2') format('woff2');
}
@font-face {
  font-family: 'Lato-Bold';
  src: url('/_static/ca104da8af9a2e0771e8fe2b31f8ec1e.woff2') format('woff2');
}
@font-face {
  font-family: 'Lato-Thin';
  src: url('/_static/03b64805a8cd2d53fadc5814445c2fb5.woff2') format('woff2');
}

fallback property

The fallback property identifies a) the name of the fallback font to use b) the styles to apply to the font while waiting for the true font to load in order to simulate the true font.

preload property

You can tune the balance between performance and user experience by varying the preloadDepth configuration value, which lets you specify how many levels of fonts to preload and how many to load asynchronously.

preloadDepth = 0: Every font is preloaded, there are no fallback fonts. There is no FOFT or FOUT but there may be some FOIT Use this when jank-free font loading is more important than page load performance.

preloadDepth = 1: Preload roman (non-stylized, e.g. Lato) fonts. Stylized fonts (e.g. Lato-Bold) will be lazily loaded and will fallback to preloaded font. During fallback period the browser will apply the appropriate style to the roman font which will display a good approximation of the stylized font (FOFT) which is less jarring than falling back to a system font. Use this when you want to balance performance with font-loading smoothness

preloadDepth = 2: Don't preload any fonts. Lazily load all fonts. Lazily loading fonts will immediately fallback to the system font (FOUT).

Use this when page load performance is more important than font-load smoothness

Performance Mode Config Type

type ConfigType = {
  preloadDepth?: number, // default 0
  withStyleOverloads?: boolean, // default false
  fonts: {
    [string]: {
      urls:   {woff?: string, woff2: string},
      fallback?: {
        name: string,
        styles?: {
          [string]: string,
        },
      },
    }
  },
};

Using withFontLoading HOC

To use the font loader in performance mode you should wrap styletron directives in the withFontLoading higher order component that comes with this package.

import {withFontLoading} from 'fusion-plugin-font-loader-react';
const hoc = withFontLoading('Lato-Bold');
const FancyLink1 = hoc(
  styled('a', props => ({
    ':hover': {fontSize: `${props.answer}px`},
    ...props.$fontStyles,
  }))
);

This will:

  1. Load a specified font
  2. Temporarily assign a fallback font and styles to the wrapped component via props.$fontStyles
  3. When the font is loaded assign the true font to child component via props.$fontStyles

Types for withFontLoading HOC

const hoc: HOC = withFontLoading((font: string));
  • font: string - The name of the font whose loading should be managed by the plugin
  • returns hoc: Component => Component

How Performance Mode Works

  1. An in-memory font fallback tree is generated at runtime based on the defintitions provided in font-config.js
  2. Fallbacks at and above the specified preloadDepth will be preloaded/prefetched on page load
  3. Remaining fonts will lazily loaded.

Based on the sample config above (preloadDepth is set to 1), the HOC example above would yield the following values for prop.$fontStyles:

While loading the true font the font loader will apply the characteristics of the true font to our base font, which will prompt the browser to simulate our true font:

{
  fontFamily: 'Lato-Regular',
  fontWeight: 'bold',
}

When the true font is loaded the font loader removes font styles and switches the style object to the true font:

{
  fontFamily: 'Lato-Bold',
}