April 24, 2004

Image Replacement Replacement

Well, old Shaun “I’ve invented a maneuver” Inman is at it again with the release of his revised and revamped IFR (Inman Flash Replacement… yes, a little full of himself) technique. The idea is this: You already know how to lovingly craft your website with valid markup and CSS, you may even already know how to use methods like the FIR (Fahrner Image Replacement) to replace text with images containing text styled to your fancy, but now you can use Shaun’s IFR to go one step further and replace text with a dynamic Flash file. You may be saying to yourself, but why would I need to use Flashy Flash? What benefits could possibly be reaped from this? And why the hell didn’t Hot Rod just let Optimus finish off Megatron? Well, that last one is a mystery; thankfully the others aren’t, because the results inherent are many.

Unlike the FIR, where you need unique images for every piece of text you wish to replace, the IFR requires only one swf. That lone swf contains a text field that (with the help of some JavaScript) pulls in the text from your page and styles it in any font you wish, even sorely underused fonts like Salsa or Minion. Oh, wait…

The JavaScript will resize the swf on the page to accommodate the amount of text being rendered, and viola! All that in just one little swf? Yes Virginia, but perhaps the best part is the time you will save due to its extensibility. You can cut down on your graphic overhead by producing only one flash file rather than a myriad of images. Dynamic as hell. This is going to throw the doors open to a lot of possibilities, and unchain web designers from a shallow pool of web-safe fonts.

In other worthwhile CSS news, aside from being a pretty decent Bruce Campbell look-alike, Dave Shae of Mezzoblue has been tinkering with some CSS properties that you won’t see in most browsers. If you are fortunate enough to be on a Mac and using Safari, you will see (the future… today!) some wonderful opacity and drop shadow action, all done with CSS. Otherwise, take a look at the screenshot and pretend you are cool too.

Commentary (4):

1. Shaun Inman says… apr 24, 2004 | 10:38 pm

“Turbo-revvin’ young punk! I’ll straighten you out yet.”

If someone had to call me on the name thing I’m glad it was you, Jason. The original “The Other FIR” and “Flash Image Replacement” didn’t really make sense since with FIR the content is replaced by images. In my version the content is replace with Flash, so F had to go in the I’s position in the acronym. What to do with the first position? In the spirit of GNU, PHP and other geeky acronyms I decided to build a pun into the name by utilizing my under publicize ILR or Inman Letter Replacement to reference the original technique. I guess there’s still time to use Flash Inman Replacement to remove the unsightly surname but boy will Mom be disappointed.

2. Shaun Inman says… apr 24, 2004 | 10:45 pm

And dude, why would I claim I invented manure?

3. bearskinrug says… apr 25, 2004 | 7:33 am

Whoa, whoa -

Can I use “Fajita?”

4. Jason Santa Maria says… apr 25, 2004 | 9:19 am

Maneuver, Shaun. Go rent Eddie Izzard’s Dress to Kill stand-up. Fantastico!