What’s the best on Windows in 2017?

AlexAlex Posts: 5
edited July 20 in Type Design Software
I’m a newbie in font design, so my question is probably stupid.
Now I draw glyphs in FontLab VI (drawing tools are quite awesome there), and then I have to export it to FL 5 and do the rest there. Because of bugs in FL VI, the workflow is a nightmare, and it takes way too long to fix everything, especially if I want to interpolate a few weights. I believe, FL will be an amazing tool when it’ll be ready, but are there any alternatives to it on Windows at the moment?

Comments

  • Dave CrosslandDave Crossland Posts: 807
    FontForge, TruFont, and FontCreator
  • Don't rely on unreleased software for workflow. I use FL5. If Glyphs ever goes Windows I'll check it out (although I'm the loyal type).
  • If Glyphs ever goes Windows I'll check it out...

    That pretty much sums it up for me. I am almost to the point of picking up a used Macbook just to buy Glyphs. Cannot really spend the money at the moment, but I am setting some aside for just this exploration.

    I do use HL's FontCreator for my main work (and a couple others). And it works great...but I also wanna see if that grass really is greener.

  • Simon CozensSimon Cozens Posts: 239
    I can't speak for Georg or the Glyphs team, but it would be an incredible undertaking for Glyphs to ever "go Windows". It would basically require a ground-up rewrite.
  • That's what they've said too. I feel like a dinosaur coming from the age of code portability... BTW Fontstand has a Windows version coming. How are they doing it? I guess it's much simpler software. Plus the motivation is very different, since font creators are much more Apple-centric than font purchasers.
  • Ofir ShavitOfir Shavit Posts: 329
    You can give Fontark a try. It has a super simple and flexible parametric drawing mechanism, plus a cross glyphs control system which makes about 70%-90% of the font design process a joy.
    It is free, browser based, so no OS dependency, and comes with a personal instructor - myself :)
  • Adam TwardochAdam Twardoch Posts: 305
    edited July 21
    We’re hard at work. :)

    There will be a new build of FontLab VI very soon with much improved interpolation. The speed of bug fixing is also amazing — we’ve opened our new bug tracker 22 months ago and we’ve processed about a 700 issues, but within the last six weeks it was 100 (on top of which we’re finalizing the planned functionality). 

    We’re also working tirelessly on the online user manual, with the help of two new members of our team! :) 

    There are still some gaps regarding the actual font production, but we’re getting close to closing that gap. 
  • Simon CozensSimon Cozens Posts: 239
    Hrant, the issue is one of design and intent. If you think you're ever going to go cross-platform, you make use of one of the cross-platform UI libraries such as Qt (which I think is what Fontlab uses). You also make sure you use a programming language that works on all the platforms you want to support.

    If cross-platform isn't an intent from the start, then you work with naive UI libraries and languages, which can be more efficient, both in terms of programming time and runtime performance.

    Glyphs is written in ObjectiveC and tied closely to the Mac API and graphics widgets. Porting to another system would be more than just rewriting all the graphics components (which in a graphics app is pretty major) but would also involve rewriting in a different programming language, as auslander support for ObjectiveC isn't great.

    Even if you do intend a cross-platform app from the get-go it isn't a zero cost proposition. Cross platform widget sets can be pretty clunky as they are trying to map ideas to multiple different user interface conventions at the same time, and there's often advantages to working with the libraries provided by a single operating system - cross platform means you have to reimplement a lot of that stuff yourself to have a consistent interface to it.

    So I think Glyphs being Mac-only is a legitimate design choice.
  • Ori Ben-DorOri Ben-Dor Posts: 121
    @Adam Twardoch
    When can we expect FL VI to be released?
  • Adam TwardochAdam Twardoch Posts: 305
    edited July 21
    @Adam Twardoch
    When can we expect FL VI to be released?
    We’ve given too optimistic release estimates too many times already, so I will only say: we’re hard at work. A number of designers are already using FontLab VI for actual design and production work, and are providing us with valuable feedback so we can iron out the kinks. Our goal is: the sooner the better! :) 

    You can of course download the free public preview today, and try it out yourself: http://fontlab.com/vi — the public preview builds will expire at some point but the don’t otherwise have any artificial limitations. The only limitations are the things we haven’t implemented or fixed yet, and that list is speedily getting shorter every day! 
  • Ori Ben-DorOri Ben-Dor Posts: 121
    @Adam Twardoch

    Actually, I did try two or three public reviews. But each time it had expired in just a few days, before the next build was out. It was a little frustrating. Also, it kept crashing too often (I'm a Windows user, in case that matters). So I finally gave up.
  • Simon, thanks for the explanation.
    It seems Glyphs decided to forego Windows from the get-go. To me that gives too much weight to cost-effectiveness versus gracious cultural facilitation. Especially since to me Apple is the new M$.

    Adam, just say "two weeks". Back in the day that was code for: "We have no idea but we're not telling you."  :->
  • AlexAlex Posts: 5
    We’re hard at work. :)

    There will be a new build of FontLab VI very soon with much improved interpolation. The speed of bug fixing is also amazing — we’ve opened our new bug tracker 22 months ago and we’ve processed about a 700 issues, but within the last six weeks it was 100 (on top of which we’re finalizing the planned functionality). 

    We’re also working tirelessly on the online user manual, with the help of two new members of our team! :) 

    There are still some gaps regarding the actual font production, but we’re getting close to closing that gap. 
    That’s great news, since interpolation is one of two main problems at the moment (the other one is class kerning, which didn’t work at all a couple of weeks ago).
  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 80
    Font Creator is pretty good.
  • Adam TwardochAdam Twardoch Posts: 305
    As far as the expiration goes, we try to publish new builds before the old one expires but sometimes it happens that the build goes out a few hours after the older one expires :/ 
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