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After the release of DTL OTMaster, the Robothon 2009 organizers kindly invited me to give a short talk on OTM at their conference. I will do that directly at the end of the Robothon conference on Friday 6 March at 15.00 hours in my classroom at the Royal Academy in The Hague.
At 16.00 hours the Gerrit Noordzij prize 2009 will be presented, so I don't have too much time and it will be an informal presentation. Nevertheless I would also like to discuss a subject that could be considered somewhat controversial: why should anyone spend time on for instance developing functionality that already is available off the shelf, or spend time repairing improper font data if this can be generated more correctly at the first place, or using command line tools if certain functionality can be added to the font data more easily?
These are questions that I ask myself for quite some time now and I find it difficult to come up with answers. So, the audience on the 6th perhaps can enlighten me and I reckon some of the Typophile readers will do here also after reading the following.
OTM has many functions, and one can use the program for instance for checking and improving data. Personally I prefer to limit 'after-editing' as much as possible. Basically everything that shows up in OTM that should be proper in the first place, is corrected at database level over here. Re-generating the fonts with for instance an update of FontMaster should not imply that the same corrections have to be made again; one has to keep up a production administration that is complex enough already.
For instance corrections made in the Naming Table in OTM should be applied to the UFM file that is used for generating the font in question also. So, it will be possible to read in an UFM file before editing a font in OTM in the near future.
If the font-data itself contains improper elements, FM is immediately updated, of course.
FM is only further developed for Windows nowadays. For some font producers this seems to be a problem, because they are completely Mac oriented. For me it is difficult to believe that one can produce fonts professionally without a thorough knowledge of the Windows platform, especially when Boot Camp, Parallels and VMware Fusion (or even CrossOver) make it easy to run Windows apps on a Mac.
Consistency and reproducibility are in my opinion the keywords for the professional font production. Over time I have seen many topics on this forum in which all kinds of issues were discussed concerning the stability of the font editors used, and the struggling with scripting to circumvent limitations. Sometimes I wonder what the goal is: producing fonts or just the juggling with limitations, scripts, bugs, et cetera, or even re-inventing the wheel?
I can understand, that it is difficult to radically change a work flow, but why are people doing all kind of things to achieve something that can be done by other software already or even automatically? Is it Digital Masochism?
Frank E. Blokland