[Openfontlibrary] Font site wishlist
raph.levien at gmail.com
Mon Oct 30 10:19:02 PST 2006
On 10/30/06, Dave Crossland <dave at lab6.com> wrote:
> On 30/10/06, Ed Trager <ed.trager at gmail.com> wrote:
> > > Version control built right into a font editor
> > No, please don't build version control into the font editor! Version
> > control software is evolving all the time. If you build it into the
> > font editor, whatever choices you make will become obsolete too
> > quickly.
> I'm also a fan of unix design philosophy :-)
> When I say 'built right into', I'm thinking of a modular system that
> supports various version control repositories on the backend with
> tight integration with the user interface on the front end.
> As Raph mentioned, there is a lot of exciting potential for innovation
> when you have freedom thats impossible for proprietary foundries to
> match. This is one of them.
Let me expand a bit.
I don't think there's _that_ much difference between, say, UFO and sfd
for the purpose of hosting a version-controlled repository. With UFO,
an added glyph will show up as a new file, but there's also the
metadata to keep track of. Having one file = one font is also simpler
for keeping track of things. Either way, there will need to be code
written that interprets the meaning of the diff and formats that
nicely so people can see through the Web interface what's going on.
A full version control tool such as svn is much more heavyweight than
is needed for font development. Perhaps a wiki is a better model than
a version controlled source code repository - that's lightweight
enough that people routinely roll their own. A "font wiki" would
maintain the glyphs as separate database entries, and then there would
be code that can split a font into individual glyphs, and assemble
them back together into a font. This is pretty simple with sfd, and
I'm sure not hard with ufo either.
Of course, I'm going to be implementing my own font format in the
coming year or two, so there are lots of questions about coordinating
that. What I've got so far is very simple, based on s-expressions, but
I think I should take another look at ufo, for the sake of not
reinventing the wheel too much.
Implementing a version control system inside the font editor is
clearly a bad idea. I think for now, just using a separate tool is the
best approach. There may be some convenience in integrating the editor
with the version control client, but it's not clear it's worth the
effort and possible loss of flexibility.
More information about the Openfontlibrary