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Font Census


This essay does not describe an existing computer program, just one that should exist. This essay is about a suggested student project in Java programming. This essay gives a rough overview of how it might work. I have no source, object, specifications, file layouts or anything else useful to implementing this project. Everything I have prepared to help you is right here.

This project outline is not like the artificial, tidy little problems you are spoon-fed in school, when all the facts you need are included, nothing extraneous is mentioned, the answer is fully specified, along with hints to nudge you toward a single expected canonical solution. This project is much more like the real world of messy problems where it is up to you to fully the define the end point, or a series of ever more difficult versions of this project and research the information yourself to solve them.

Everything I have to say to help you with this project is written below. I am not prepared to help you implement it; or give you any additional materials. I have too many other projects of my own.

Though I am a programmer by profession, I don’t do people’s homework for them. That just robs them of an education.

You have my full permission to implement this project in any way you please and to keep all the profits from your endeavour.

Please do not email me about this project without reading the disclaimer above.

The intent of this project is to take a font census, i.e. find out which fonts are popular that you can count on being pre-installed for CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) style sheets or Java to use. Why? If programmers and HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) designers knew better which fonts are pre-installed, they could produce more varied font choices in style sheets and Applets.

This program is an extension to the FontShower Project. You might start with that and modify it.

This project’s job it to take poll of which fonts various sites are using and compile the data producing a report sorted by percent of sites with that font installed.

You would implement it by converting FontShower to a Java Web Start app. It would display fonts to anyone in the outside world. It would also send a list of installed fonts to the server. The server would save the raw data keyed by IP (Internet Protocol). If the same IP sends more data, you replace the old information.

Periodically you read the entire database counting how many IP there are and how many times each font appears. Then you produce your table. You might do this once a day and generate HTML for curious viewers to see. You could handle this with a database, or with a simple linear log with timestamped entries.

Alternatively, you might maintain the totals as each report comes in and generate each request to see the report with JSP (Java Server Pages). You might do this with an in-RAM HashMap that you back up to disk every once in a while.

font finder project
FontShower amanuensis
FontShower project
Proofreader Font project
Reuters Unicode Displayer

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