Firefox is good for testing OpenType standard ligatures (derives from Re: Pb with Unicode Tifinagh with Internet Explorer)

From: William_J_G Overington (
Date: Tue May 26 2009 - 06:57:59 CDT

  • Next message: Marion Gunn: "Re: Pb with Unicode Tifinagh with Internet Explorer"

    On Tuesday 26 May 2009, Andrew West <> wrote:

    > 2009/5/26 Marion Gunn <>:
    > >
    > > As a member of both the Irish translation team of IE
    > (paid) and the Irish
    > > translation team of Firefox (unpaid) - I have to step
    > in to counter Andrew's
    > > hatred of the latter
    > You can't counter hatred. The fact that I dislike Firefox
    > says
    > absolutely nothing about the technical merits or otherwise
    > of that
    > particular browser.
    > Andrew

    I had never used Firefox until recently when I was informed that it can be used to test the glyph substitution of ligatures in a font.

    Two years ago I had tried to make some fonts with glyph substitution for ligatures using the Microsoft VOLT program, yet I had no way external to VOLT of testing the font.

    Firefox 3.0.8 allows me to test the fonts.

    I have thus far mostly only included ligatures as standard ligatures in my experimental fonts, and Firefox 3.0.8 displays those: if I try with a font that has some ligatures as standard ligatures and some as discretionary ligatures then only the standard ligatures are displayed - though whether that is how Firefox always acts or whether I need to give it different commands to request that it displays the discretionary ligatures I do not know at present.

    Not a browser war, I regularly use Internet Explorer as that arrived ready-installed on the computer.

    By the way, there is a di ligature in the example graphic!

    I have my own hypothesis and wonder whether Gutenberg used ligatures such as di.

    That derives from some very interesting research that was in a television programme. That research seems to prove that Gutenberg used one-time-only matrices for casting type. I reasoned that, if so, then two-letter ligatures would each save making a matrix and three-letter ligatures would each save making two matrices. So maybe ligatures such as di were used for ease of casting a narrow i and saving money in matrix making, even though it does not look like a ligature.

    William Overington

    26 May 2009

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