Programming font charset

Bruno Bernard
Bruno Bernard Posts: 3
edited August 2022 in Technique and Theory
Hi everyone, I have to design a font dedicated to programming for a client, and I'm wondering about the required character set. I've observed that all the popular programming fonts feature extensive character sets, but I assume this is because they are derived from standard sans-serif charsets. And because, anyway, "who can do more can do less". 

But I wouldn't like to burden my client with useless characters. So I'm inclined to reduce the font to the 95 ascii characters, as I believe coding doesn't requires any other characters. Am I correct ? or would a programming font should contain more ?

I could also put out my question this way : is there an "official" computer coding characters list, richer than the ascii list ?


  • John Hudson
    John Hudson Posts: 3,045
    You need to ask you client what kinds of programming they are doing, what the content of the programming is, and whether they are handling text strings within the code and, if so, in what natural languages.*

    * I would also ask what programming languages they are using. Chances are that the code itself is limited to ASCII, but there are some programming languages that use special characters.
  • Jens Kutilek
    Swift for example even allows emoji as variable names:

    1. let π = 3.14159
    2. let 你好 = "你好世界"
    3. let 🐶🐮 = "dogcow"
    But to add to Peter and John’s mention of strings, code comments may also use languages other than English, or include text graphics, etc.

  • Bruno Bernard
    Bruno Bernard Posts: 3
    edited September 2022
    Great, thank you all for that explanation. I was unaware of all those possibilities. In my experience, as soon as I leave an accented character in my code, in Robofont, I get an error message when compiling. I had concluded too quickly that programming was limited to ascii characters.

    My client's programming language is Python. I found all the specs about encoding here

    And I'm definitely going to have to see with him the precise character set he needs. 
    Just like a normal font, actually.