OpenType Application Support

Mark Simonson's picture

I'm trying to come up with a current list of applications that support OpenType advanced typography features (especially things like Contextual Alternates). So far, this is what I have:

Adobe InDesign (all versions?)
Adobe Illustrator CS or later
Adobe Photoshop CS or later
QuarkXPress 7.0 or later
Mellel (Mac OS)
Windows Presentation Foundation (which would include what applications?)

Anything else?

charles ellertson's picture

Not sure this is relevant, but one of the reason we gave up on TeX (we did not use XeTeX) was color management -- particular for color images. While this falls outside your question, we had to jump through bloody hoops (our blood) to set books with color or duotone images.

Mark Simonson's picture

Is that really everything?

scruggsdesign's picture

Mac OS X Textedit

nepenthe's picture

OpenType's only been common since 2000; give it time ;)

Does anybody know if Pages supports OpenType features? This site says it does.

schriftgestalt's picture

I could not get calt to work in Pages or Textedit.

Georg

Mark Simonson's picture

No, OS X Cocoa apps, like TextEdit, Pages, Keynote, etc., support some OT stuff, but not Contextual Alternates and a few other things.

Nick Shinn's picture

Is that really everything?

It's a wonder Adobe doesn't have a complete monopoly, after all the nasty things snooty designers say about Quark, not to mention Corel.

dezcom's picture

Mark,
It seems the app developers don't think the greater public will care enough about opentype features to request them. There will have to be some compelling need arise for John and Sally Public to take an interest in it. Perhaps that is why only publishing apps support much of it. Even Quark is quite late to the party.

ChrisL

canderson's picture

I think the problem here is that developers have to choose between API's provided by the operating system and developing their own text layout components. The latter is a huge engineering challenge, which is why only a couple of companies have done it. If Windows Presentation Foundation and Cocoa provide easy access to this sort of functionality it might suddenly start showing up in all kinds of programs. Programmers love adding features, they just have a limited amount of resources. The trick is helping them get this stuff "for free" simply by using programming components that support it.

Mark Simonson's picture

I feel very torn by this lack of support. I'm very keen to ship fonts with advanced typographic support, but part of me feels that it is not necessarily in the customers' interest. In the bad old days, we had things like alternate characters in separate fonts, leaving it to the user to sort out. But at least it was a level playing field--no special application or OS support necessary to use alternate characters and such. With OpenType, if you don't have one of the few programs that fully support the fonts, you're stuck with a limited version of the font (in effect).

I just got my Adobe CS3 upgrade today, and was disappointed by the relative lack of progress in the OT area. (I know, I should go make a feature request in the appropriate place.) In InDesign, for instance, it's even harder to find the OT stuff than the previous two versions.

Realistically, I know that most people buying my fonts will have one or more of the first four programs on my list. But I really feel frustrated when I get a complaint from a Flash user wondering why they can only access the basic characters in an "advanced" font they just bought from me.

dezcom's picture

I guess we all have to become squeaky wheels to let app developers know this stuff is needed.

ChrisL

david h's picture

> I guess we all have to become squeaky wheels to let app developers know this stuff is needed.

Read that :^)

http://typophile.com/node/33089

Miguel Sousa's picture

I'll note that this subject is going to be covered at TypoTechnica next week:

Status of OpenType support 2007
The presentation will summarize the status of OpenType support in different applications and on different platforms. We will give an overview of the feature support, the existing bugs, problems and shortcomings related to OpenType fonts. The following issues will be covered in detail and will be demonstrated:
-- Unicode support, Glyph naming and Encoding problems
-- Fontnames and platform compatibility
-- GSUB vs. KERN : Kerning support
-- Ascender, Descender and Linespacing
-- Overview of feature support in different Applications for different scripts and languages
-- Summary

http://www.linotype.com/3194-21614/speakerspresentations.html#21622

k.l.'s picture

I think the problem here is that developers have to choose between API’s provided by the operating system and developing their own text layout components.

There are cross-platform text rendering systems like XcgfK (google for this term) by em2 Solutions which supports OT features. It can be licensed by application developers.

I feel very torn by this lack of support. I'm very keen to ship fonts with advanced typographic support, but part of me feels that it is not necessarily in the customers' interest. [...] With OpenType, if you don't have one of the few programs that fully support the fonts, you’re stuck with a limited version of the font (in effect).

Yes.
We must hope that the next OSX's OT support will be assimilated to that in Adobe applications or WPF, so that OT fonts behave the same way in TextEdit and Pages (and third party developers' applications) as they do in Creative Suite.

dezcom's picture

"Read that :^)"

Get the WD40 out David :-)

ChrisL

Mark Simonson's picture

Okay, here is a related question: What applications support Stylistic Sets? The ones I know about are InDesign (CS2 or later) and Cocoa apps on Mac OS (Pages, Keynote, TextEdit, etc.). Any others?

Stephen Coles's picture

Miguel - I'm sorry I missed TypoTechnica. Do you have a PDF or slides of your presentation? Very interested in the current state of OT support.

Miguel Sousa's picture

I'm not the one covering the topic. I'll try to take some notes and post them here.

Mark Simonson's picture

Thank you, Frank!

canderson's picture

I wish I could have attended. Thank you.

dezcom's picture

Bravo Frank!

ChrisL

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