Thrilling Developments From the Field of Boring Font Utilities

This session has two halves. First, I will present my work on two personal font-development tools: one is a command-line utility for automatically building installable release packages (in RPM, Deb, CTAN, and Zip format) of font families, and the other is a set of Emacs Major Modes for editing font files with syntax highlighting, auto-indent, and tokenization. The packaging tool adresses an area often overlooked in open font development: rolling a release. The Emacs modes make it easier to edit and debug font source files. Hopefully both tools will help make some well-tested methods from software development more useful in type design.

Second, I’ll discuss the recent effort announced on CREATE to develop and implement GUI UX patterns for accessing OpenType features, and why it’s important to free software. OpenType substitution and positioning features are one of the format’s major selling points to type designers, but they have poor support in creative applications. The proprietary software industry has let this slide as a business decision; free software can deliver what users want to see.

Nathan Willis

Nathan Willis is a free-software journalist and open font designer. glyphography.com