re: Internet Explorer 5, Unicode Fonts, and Fontographer

From: John Hudson (
Date: Sun Oct 24 1999 - 16:55:30 EDT

At 10:03 AM 24-10-99 -0700, Michael Everson wrote:

>>The latest general purpose font editor out there is FontLab, but it can't
>>edit the OpenType tables, either. It will, however, at least preserve the

>So the only people who can make real fonts for complex scripts are big
>companies that can hire programmers to make inhouse tools for font
>development, right? I've never seen FontLab, so I don't know what it's
>like. I surely do wish Fontographer were updated, though.

For my money, Fontographer is unlikely ever to be updated, and I say that
without being a betting man in any sense.

The good news is that FontLab 3.0, even without OpenType or other
additional table editing, is better than Fontographer ever was (proper PS
hint implementation, quadratic outline editing, TrueType hinting interface,
etc.). Further, OpenType support is promised for FontLab 4.0, which is
currently in development (this release will also be scriptable using Python).

There is also RoboFog, a Python script enabled version of Fontographer 3.5,
which is available to registered owners of Fontographer. RoboFog was
developed by Petr van Blokland, Erik van Blokland and Just van Rossum. They
are currently rewriting the FOG source code in Python, which will make the
tool very adaptable.

On a related note, Just van Rossum has developed TTX, a tool which reads
TrueType font files into human editable XML files and then back into TTFs.
Not for the faint of heart, this tool presumes that you know what you are

Microsoft, meanwhile, are developing VOLT, the Visual OpenType Layout Tool
which provides a GUI for building glyph substitution and positioning tables.

Adobe have announced licensing of an OT Font Developer Kit.

Note that this FDK and Microsoft's VOLT tool are intended to provide
professional capability in producing OT layout tables in the near future.
They are probably not reasonable long term subsitutes for implementation in
programs like FontLab, which will integrate such tools within a general
font production application.

Apple has a variety of free font tools available from

John Hudson

Tiro Typeworks
Vancouver, BC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 17:20:54 EDT