OpenType 1.8.4 public beta review

The current OpenType version, 1.8.3, was released over two years ago, and it may seem like not much has happened since then. In the subsequent two years, many issues were reported on the OT spec, though it’s true that not much action was being taken. Well, new work was started in August, sponsored by Google Fonts and Microsoft, to prepare a dot-dot update to the OpenType spec to address the backlog of issues.

The OpenType 1.8.4 update is now publicly available for a “beta” review:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/typography/opentype/otspec184beta/ot184beta

When work started in August, there was a backlog of 99 issues that had been reported in the prior two years. After the new work began, another 141 issues were filed—a 141% increase in the past two months. Altogether, there were 240 different pieces of feedback on the OT spec that were taken into consideration, and changes made in response to over 200 of these issues (85%). There are 27 remaining issues still open that can be considered in a subsequent version—a cut-off for this release was needed at some point.

Most or all of the feedback given on the OT spec is also relevant for the ISO Open Font Format standard. So, after considering feedback from the review period and making last changes, the result will be submitted as proposed revisions for a future edition of OFF.

The content is available at the link above for a public review period of three weeks—until November 13. Note that the beta content will get taken down after OT 1.8.4 is considered complete and becomes the current version. The beta content includes two variants of each changed page/section: a “delta” version showing all edits with “change tracking” formatting; and a “final” version showing the results of the edits (all the deletions and “change tracking” formatting are removed). Feedback can be submitted on any of the beta content “final” version pages using a feedback link at the bottom of the page. A best effort will be made to respond to feedback on the proposed changes. Any entirely new issues reported will likely be left for a future update.

I’d like to acknowledge and thank Google Fonts and Microsoft who have made this possible.

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