Re: Oh No! Not a new Adobe Glyph List!!!

From: John Hudson (
Date: Tue Dec 31 2002 - 17:01:16 EST

  • Next message: Kevin Brown: "Re: Oh No! Not a new Adobe Glyph List!!!"

    At 01:22 PM 12/31/2002, Peter Lofting wrote:

    >The main reasons to have short human-readable glyphnames are:
    >(1) to have name identifiers for un-encoded glyphs.
    > e.g. A.swash1 A.swash2 A.smallcap A.initialcap A.endflourish
    > A_period.swash

    These naming conventions may also be applied using uniXXXX format names,
    and are so used in plenty of fonts for un-encoded variants of non-AGL
    glyphs, e.g.:

             uni06AB.swash uni06AB.swash2

    >(2) to use these names in writing shaping behaviour rules. This applies to
    >both OpenType and AAT (MIF) shaping rules.
    >Writing glyph substitution/transformation algebra is much easier if the
    >string is short, unbroken, and readable/recognizable. Unicode names don't
    >fulfil all these criteria and the uniXXXX format is opaque, which prevents
    >debugging and re-use of the shaping rule libraries.

    The uniXXXX format is not opaque, but it is obviously harder to work with
    than human-readable names *during production* unless you happen to have
    memorised the Unicode Standard. But the AGL and the Adobe glyph naming
    conventions are specifically concerned with final, shipping font glyph
    names, not with names used in production. This is why I am bewildered by
    the sudden appearance, in this new AGL, of all Adobe's internal production
    names. The implication of including names in the AGL is that these names
    will be recognised by ATM, CoolType and other Adobe text engines and mapped
    to corresponding Unicode values. Unless all these engines have always been
    able to recognise the Adobe production names included in the new AGL, it
    can't be a good idea to include them, because fonts using these names would
    not work with older versions of ATM etc. If these engines can recognise all
    these names, then all the new AGL really does is document a set of
    acceptable alternative names for some characters, that may be used in
    shipping fonts instead of othe AGL names or uniXXXX names. I continue to
    think that this version of the AGL may simply be an error, and that Adobe
    did not intend to publicise their internal production names in this way.

    At Tiro, we have an extensive set of human-friendly production names used
    for Arabic, Hebrew, Cyrillic, etc., but these are always swapped out before
    we ship a font and replaced by AGL 1.2 (where they differ, e.g. the AFII
    names for Cyrillic, Arabic and Hebrew) or uniXXXX names.

    I disagree that using uniXXXX names in production would 'prevent ... re-use
    of shaping rule libraries'. Human-friendly production names are simply a
    convenience, and I can't think of anything we do with them (including
    deriving lookup rules from glyph repertoire spreadsheets) that we couldn't
    do using uniXXXX names with the same conventions for un-encoded glyphs.

    Happy New Year, Peter et al.

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Vancouver, BC

    A book is a visitor whose visits may be rare,
    or frequent, or so continual that it haunts you
    like your shadow and becomes a part of you.
                            - al-Jahiz, The Book of Animals

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