Proposal To Design A Better Font Selection Widget
James Richard Tyrer
tyrerj at acm.org
Thu Oct 20 20:57:31 PDT 2005
Edward H. Trager wrote:
> Hi, everyone,
> I originally posted a version of this message as an open letter to:
> - Gnome Desktop developers (gtk-i18n mailing list)
> - KDE Desktop developers (KDE developers mailing list)
> - OpenOffice.org developers (OpenOffice developers list)
> - Gimp developers (Gimp developers list)
> - Inkscape developers (Inkscape developers list)
> ... regarding a proposal for an improved font selection drop-down
> widget that would be ideal for use in professional-quality Open Source
> word processing, desktop publishing, and graphic design programs
> such as OpenOffice.org, Gimp, Inkscape, Scribus, and similar
> The original message was posted on 2005.09.27. After posting the
> original message, I realized that I should also have posted to the
> Scribus developers list, and Keith Packard rightly suggested that
> I post to this list, which I am finally now getting around to doing!
> As with the original post, I welcome your suggestions and criticisms.
> The proposal suggests a design that is particularly
> applicable where users require a streamlined and intuitive interface
> for selecting multiple fonts from large font collections present on
> the user's machine. The proposal also attempts to fully address
> aspects of internationalization related to font selection
> that I believe have been largely overlooked until now. Finally,
> the proposal suggests using a common XML configuration file
> for storing font collection information.
> To see the full proposal, which now also includes updates based on
> feedback I have received, as well as a number of the original replies
> I received, please see:
Some other problems with CJK. A Unicode CJK font also needs to be
classified as being Chinese, Japanese, or Korean based on the form of
the Han characters. For example, is Arial Unicode Chinese, Japanese, or
These characters have the same meaning in the three languages but (very
unfortunately) there is a difference of opinion on what the glyphs
should look like. IAC with many characters they are about the same but
with some characters there is considerable difference and the Japanese
are rather picky about this.
I have no idea how to obtain this information.
I also note that it was my understanding that there were three kinds of
Chinese fonts, Main-Land, Taiwan, and HK. This might be the case even
with Unicode due to differences in the Han characters.
Also I reiterate that your example shows:
This is an artifact of the way that TrueType names fonts. If this was
Type1 Helvetica, there would only be one family:
with "Black" being a weight and "Narrow" being a width.
I can't figure out how to map TrueType names to the Type1 system without
knowledge. To illustrate the problem, your example also has:
Bitstream Vera Sans
Bitstream Vera Sans Mono
Bitstream Vera Serif
which are three separate families. To make the distinction by parsing
the names, you need a complete list of ALL possible weights and widths.
These could be configuration files that the user could add to if they
installed a weird font.
OTOH it is probably simple to map Type1 names to the Type1 system with
only short lists of strings to check. Apparently any width is
considered another family and any attribute other than Bold or
italic/oblique/slanted/(and probably others) makes it another family.
Only slight problem is the various degrees of bold, Demi Bold/Semi Bold,
Extra Bold, and Ultra Bold -- are there others? This (the bold issue)
can cause problems. Some fonts have both Demi Bold and Bold while some
have Demi Bold but lack Bold, and then some call "Demi Bold" just
"Demi". Unfortunately, this is not the correct definition of a font
family so it isn't really correct.
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