The RoboFont Editor thread

eliason's picture

It's the talk of ATypi 11 and the Twitterverse, so let's talk about it here.
RoboFont was released last week. It is a new font editor that runs on a Mac. It works with the UFO format. I'd love to hear testimonials about what it does and doesn't do, what it does better than preexisting tools, and so on.

pvanderlaan's picture

Yeah, but with a bit of luck we’ll have a live stream on the website too. Just like last time. :)

Bald Condensed's picture

It takes a serious case of unruly behaviour to have me step back up in my role of moderator. :^/

Höfe, your account is blocked until I have had the opportunity to discuss your gross misconduct with the powers that be. I tracked your previous comments and it's not your first offence. Furthermore, all caps littered with typos just screams CRAZY to me. Unless you behave yourself and have something constructive to add to Typophile, you are gone the way of the dodo. We don't care for your type here.

As for Angus, please be careful which tone you employ in online communication. Even if you didn't intend it to be, your comments came across as rather unpleasant, hence the strong replies.

Let's try to be more courteous with each other and get this discussion back to the high standards upheld by Typophile. ;^)

typemytype's picture

@ Angus

First of all thanks for buying and supporting further development of RoboFont.

The tone of your earlier post here is really discouraging to give some sort of reply. It is indeed true you can be rude on the internet but the nice thing about it that I can also choose not to reply.

However the tone also hides the real question: it seems to me you are having difficulties with adapting your workflow to a UFO workflow.

I cannot really help with individual workflow issues cause they are different for each designer.

RoboFont is not an app that is designing for you and will never be. RoboFont provides tons of opportunities so you could design your design process.

Writing opentype features is briefly documented, like Kai already mentioned. The syntax is the same as you are used to in FontLab or when you have FDK workflow.

Setting smart sets is entirely up to the designer.
Creating smart sets:
* drag and drop selected glyphs on the smart list
* smart set as a search query, click "save set" in the search bar
* smart sets as a list of required glyph names, see the option button in the smart list pane

If you have a bunch of .enc files you could import them see http://doc.robofont.com/documentation/preferences/(look for character set)

I would also propose to post your questions in the RoboFont forums see http://doc.robofont.com/forums/ (as I don't read Typophile)

yours sincerely

Goran Soderstrom's picture

I feel I must add some spice to this discussion aswell, since I do understand Angus in a way here.

I don't think I've been rude at all to you (and I certainly do not hope you feel this post is rude too), but my questions on Twitter have also been completely ignored. Not that it seem to matter so much to you, but if I made a product and potential buyers asks questions about that product on Twitter. I answer those questions as good as I can if I want people to buy my product. Simple customer relations, I guess :)

For me, the Robofont editor was so incredible überhyped by some of our ‘Type Celebreties’ we have in this business and I was very curios of testing it out, but now that enthusiasm is sort of gone.

I'm not a ‘Type Celebrity’ as those you *do* answer on Twitter and retweet, but I produce custom typefaces for some of the largest companies in Sweden, and just started my own foundry, so you could say I'm a very potential buyer. Add to that the fact that I'm all fed up on the bugs in FontLab.

Hmm, to not be misunderstood I feel like I want to end this post with something like: Please dont read this with a angry face, I wrote it with a happy face :)

Kind Regards from Sweden
Göran

- -

Bald Condensed's picture

See, this is how you do it. :^)

pvanderlaan's picture

Goran, I think it’s better to ask questions in the forum that Frederik mentioned above. On Twitter it’s not easy for other people to chime in on a discussion for instance. And neither will people with similar questions be able to find such a discussion on Twitter.

typemytype's picture

Goran,

I made myself a priority list how to manage user support:
1) the beta testers list, a closed group of designers
2) RoboFont forums (I think it is better to centralize RoboFont related topics. In case you wonder all the new forum topic got a reply from me or others)
3) direct emails (I'm not finished reading all the post-ATypi mails yet)
4) conferences
5) phone
6) ...
7) sms
8) twitter / facebook / G+
9) typophile / other forums

I hope this makes sense and see you at http://robofont.com/forums/

Rob O. Font's picture

I too felt somewhat lost when I started using Robofont, and I was in on some of the planning of this module's development. I think it helps to plan workflow in type development based on what tables your are creating. In most activities, this makes it more obvious what tools to use, when. If you are familiar with the OS/2 table, this may not apply, but when you're creating a CVT, contours, composites, spacing, kerning or hints, guidance from the format helps to organize effort.

Angus R Shamal's picture

typemytype >

I don't know if I have difficulties with adapting my workflow to a UFO workflow. I didn't get that far as of yet. It's probably fairly easy once I dive into it (at least I hope so).

I did however have some questions regarding the program RoboFont itself, which I stated in my email to you about 10 days ago. An email which contained no tone or anger (maybe some confusion), just questions. If you only answered me around then as expected — like my customers expect me to answer their emails — we probably wouldn't have this discussion here or on your forum or anywhere else.
But I see it's been busy, so I thank you for your reply now and addressing some of the issues I had.

So RoboFont is not gonna design for me — that's always a good start :)
I see that it's basically a make-and-build-your-own-settings type of deal. Cool, I get it. When time permits, I'll dive further into it and check your website for further documentation when needed, or hunt the rest of the components down on internet. And if you have some printable detailed documentation in the future, would be great to hear about it.

Thank you again for replying, and I wish you all the best with the project!

Just remember you have customers. ;)

Angus.

dezcom's picture

Yves,
"Where is the Beef?"

blank's picture

For me, the Robofont editor was so incredible überhyped by some of our ‘Type Celebreties’ we have in this business and I was very curios of testing it out, but now that enthusiasm is sort of gone.

Seconded. There is too much enthusiasm for “anything but Fontlab” and not enough for a good font outline editor. I don’t care how much potential Robofont has to be useful later, I am not paying €400 for CAD software that does not have a function for generating primitive shapes at specified sizes unless I take advantage of the privilege of coding it myself. I think I will just move to Glyphs now and then see what Robofont can do in year or two.

Bald Condensed's picture

> If you only answered me around then as expected — like my customers expect me to answer their emails — we probably wouldn't have this discussion here or on your forum or anywhere else.

I think Frederik made quite clear in his reply above that the amount of emails he currently receives makes it hard for him to respond in a timely fashion. He's just one guy with a toddler and a newborn working day and night. Maybe it would be more efficient to indeed ask your support questions in the forum.

Mark Simonson's picture

I am not paying €400 for CAD software that does not have a function for generating primitive shapes at specified sizes unless I take advantage of the privilege of coding it myself.

I can understand this point of view. Why should you need to know how to program to create a font (setting aside writing feature code)? On the other hand, as a type designer with some experience and interest in programming, I think RoboFont is a very exciting and interesting font editor. I certainly like it's Python editor more than the one in FontLab.

John Hudson's picture

While I agree that Angus' attitude isn't the best, I'm sympathetic with his desire for some documentation. I don't need a whole manual upfront, but some task specific tutorials would be nice. One of the joys of working with some other UFO tools, notably Tal Leming's, is that they come with really good documentation that enable one of get up and running quickly.

Note that I'm not talking here about scripting help or anything like that, but really basic stuff like the outline editing interface. Trying for the first time to integrate Robofont into a workflow today -- wanting to edit an outline in one weight to correct a problem diagnosed in Prepolator -- I was stymied by the fact that I couldn't figure out how to convert a straight line segment into a curve. Maybe there's some typical way to do this in Mac drawing tools, but coming from Windows FontLab, I'm at a loss how to edit outlines in Robofont. In FontLab, deleting a smooth tangent point preserves the curve as closely as possible; in Robofont, the curve is collapsed: there seems no way to delete a tangent point without also deleting the control handle. This is totally alien to me after 16 years of FontLab, as is the apparent inability to shape a curve section by grabbing the middle of it and just moving it around. Maybe there are ways to do this in Robofont that I wasn't able to find?

[Query also posted to Robofont forum]

Mark Simonson's picture

Hold down the command key to drag-modify a curve. To convert a straight segment into a curve, hold down the option (alt) key and drag from one of the nodes on either end. I think both of these are in the online documentation. The second one, for sure.

dezcom's picture

"Maybe there's some typical way to do this in Mac drawing tools"

I have the same problem, John, and I have been using Mac drawing programs for 25 years. The sagging bag curve collapse is also like that in AI but you can drag curves around or constrain them with shift and option keys. The thing that sold me on FontLab originally was the "spring out" curves rather than the over-cooked spaghetti thing :-)
For type design, I think the springiness is essential to speed up drawing.

What is confusing to me is that I am never sure if something is saved or not. There are occasions when I don't want to save changes and just quit the file but there is never a dialogue which says "save Changes before closing"

Mark Simonson's picture

I wonder if the save behavior is to do with Lion? I'm on Snow Leopard and it always asks. Lion has a new auto-save feature--maybe RoboFont is using it? (I understand that Glyphs does, and that you can disable it and restore the "classic" save behavior if you like.)

typemytype's picture

He John

see http://doc.robofont.com/forums/topic/outline-tools-tutorial/#post-983

thanks for posting it on the RoboFont forums :)

John Hudson's picture

Thanks, everyone, especially Frederik. I shall sally forth and experiment some more.

blank's picture

On the other hand, as a type designer with some experience and interest in programming, I think RoboFont is a very exciting and interesting font editor.

I agree with you there. I should probably add some context here and note that I have twins due to be born in November, so I suddenly have a lot less interest in trying to learn another application's Python implementation. But I am sure that Erik, Tal, Ben, and others will release some great RoboFont tools in the coming years.

pvanderlaan's picture

If you are familiar with RoboFab in FontLab then most of your Python scripts will also work in RoboFont (and Glyphs). That has been the whole point.

Mark Simonson's picture

What are the differences with using RoboFab with RoboFont and using it with FontLab? I assume some kinds of FontLab-centric stuff is not going to work, right?

typemytype's picture

additions to RoboFab in RoboFont: http://doc.robofont.com/documentation/scripting/api/robofab-extras/

additions to RoboFab in Fontlab:

font object
http://robofab.com/objects/font.html (bottom of the page)

glyph object
http://robofab.com/objects/glyph.html (bottom of the page)

for a overview of RoboFab object see http://robofab.com/objects/model.html

Mark Simonson's picture

Thanks, Frederik.

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