Can you program in python...?

Miguel Hernandez's picture

Hola Amigos,

Any testimonial about success using python in FL?
Please share info, links, experience, etc.


John Hudson's picture

I can't write Python scripts myself yet, although I can effectively edit existing ones, but I have paid Adam Twardoch to write a number of scripts over the past few years and these scripts have saved me many hours of work.

Which reminds me ... Adam, I'm still waiting for my composite management script.

hrant's picture

I've been doing one major project in Python/FL, so I'm not as good as Adam.
But eventually I see myself doing a lot of stuff for a lot of people with it.

And I love the power, but:
1) I don't like the syntax/structure, at least in terms of FL.
2) It seems unruly. Not really buggy, but unruly, like Director Lingo (although not as complex). You have to get to know it over time.

Miguel, if you're considering taking the plunge, there's really one big question: your level of previous programming experience.


John Hudson's picture

If you are a complete beginner at programming, this book is quite a good textbook. It teaches basic concepts of programming and introduces you to Python at the same time.

Christian Robertson's picture

I've started using scripting extensively in FL. It's great. I use it for metrics adjustments, adding anchors, auto-generating multiple fonts from a MM FL doc, and countless other tasks (Ever needed to rename a bunch of glyphs? Try python's regular expression module.)

Here is a free online book, also for beginning programmers, that uses python. It's good, even if you've had some experience. Another great resource is the Python web site. They have some pretty simple tutorials that should get you started in python. For the FontLab interface, the Unofficial FontLab/Python API Reference is invaluable. Of course, read the archive of the FL scripting list.

At any rate, if you spend any time at all in FontLab, it is definitely worth your while to learn Python scripting. You will be amazed at how often you write two or three lines of code in the edit macro panel. Your own scripts are much more valuable than anything you might find online, as they will fit perfectly into your workflow. You can save hours this way. (You can also waste countless hours trying to figure things out, when it would have been faster to do it manually, but it's always funner to learn. That's the computer programmers motto, 'power through lazyness'. They'll work all day to avoid 10 minutes of tedious work.)

hrant's picture

Dude, it's not laziness, it's the principle of it. ;-)
But knowing when to do things by hand instead is an art itself.


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