Using mutiple editors when working on a font family

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I am curious to know if anyone exclusively uses a single font editor such as GlyphsApp, Robofont, or Font Lab, or if they use multiple font editors while working on a font family. Personally, I only use GlyphsApp and haven't tried any of the other font editors. However, I have noticed that some designers switch between GlyphsApp and Robofont when designing a font family. This makes me wonder if it is more a matter of preference when it comes to software or if different editors offer unique features, functionalities, or user interfaces that cater to specific needs and personal preferences.

Comments

  • Thomas Phinney
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    I can easily imagine being in a hybrid world where I have a collaborator using Glyphs, and I work on the same file in FontLab. But I can also imagine that one might want to keep strict data flow processes in place to avoid problems, much as outlined by Hudson in the above-referenced thread.
  • Matthew Smith
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    One person that comes to mind that I know bops between Glyphs and RoboFont is Stephen Nixon from Arrow Type. You can find a few videos on his YouTube channel where he walks through some specific processes.

  • Nick Cooke
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    I only use Glyphs. I can’t fault it in any way. 
  • Mark Simonson
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    I have been almost exclusively using Glyphs since 2016 for making fonts.
  • James Montalbano
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    and I have been a FontLab user since forever.
  • Dave Crossland
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    and I have been a FontLab user since forever.
    Still using pure v5? :)
  • John Hudson
    John Hudson Posts: 3,060
    edited December 2023
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    I’ve always used multiple tools when developing fonts, and regularly collaborate with people who use other tools. The UFO format has been important in opening up this kind of multi-tool design and production chain—as well as scripted build processes—, but FontLab’s ability to read and write .glyphs files is also very convenient and has improved since the older thread (although layer and master names still get garbled in italic fonts).
  • Thomas Phinney
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    I am on FontLab 8.2 and later.

    I do also find the ability to open Glyphs files handy, especially when combined with FontAudit.
  • Nick Cooke
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    and I have been a FontLab user since forever.
    Still using pure v5? :)
    I was always happy using FL until 6 when I stopped as I found it so dreadful. I’m glad I switched to Glyphs. 
  • k.l.
    k.l. Posts: 109
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    Still using pure v5? :)
    That was me. (And still is.)
  • stuarthazley
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    I appreciate everyone's insights and input. Thank you all very much! 🙂
  • James Montalbano
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    Still using pure v5? 
    I started on v3 and have moved with the times and now am on v8.2
  • Typedesigner
    Typedesigner Posts: 41
    edited December 2023
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    I like working with FontLab 8.2. FontLab 8.2 has many useful and excellent functions. FontLab 8.2 is also very stable and fast. You can use it on both PC and Mac. Glyphs is a Mac-only application. In projects where not all designers have FontLab 8.2, glyphs files can still be easily exchanged and edited because FontLab 8.2 can export and import glyphs files.
  • jeremy tribby
    jeremy tribby Posts: 234
    edited December 2023
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    I find it's very difficult to move between different editors if your preferred format isn't UFO and the font has moderate complexity specific to one editor. fontlab 8, fontra, and glyphsLib all fail on my glyphs 3 files for different reasons. I think the glyphs format probably moves too fast and/or has too many edges specific to its own compiler that aren't being tested for in the various translation libraries. glyphsLib has improved but it still fails in areas like e.g. variable feature syntax.
    if all you care about is outlines it's a lot easier to move from glyphs to UFO to use tools specific to the robofont ecosystem like e.g. scalefast, you can do it with some minor headaches, but if you want to maintain the integrity of the whole glyphs file, round-trip, those headaches become larger.
  • Thomas Phinney
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    My current workflows on some projects for Google Fonts involve FontLab 8 > UFO > FontMake > TTF. I can get predictable and good results. But that is very different from moving files back and forth between two different editors.

    Even moving between two editors, there can be different levels of compatibility needed. Per Jeremy’s comment, for example, one might have a collaborative workflow where one or more people are using the “other” editor, but only for working on glyph outlines. In such a case, that editor is feeding glyph outlines to the other editor, but in a one-way fashion. That is a pretty safe and simple thing. Very different from passing complete files round-trip.
  • John Hudson
    John Hudson Posts: 3,060
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    I have been thinking recently that all aspects of OpenType, including GDEF, GSUB, and GPOS data should be natively expressed in UFO—i.e. not bolted on via inclusion of a .fea file—such that font tools can easily read and write that data in a compatible way from whatever editing tools they provide. I feel this will also encourage tool makers to improve their OTL editing tools to support things like contextual GPOS by providing them with a standardised data model as a target.
  • John Hudson
    John Hudson Posts: 3,060
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    Put another way: our tool ecosystem is now so good, it is time to fill in the remaining gaps.
  • André Simard
    André Simard Posts: 185
    edited December 2023
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    Still using pure v5? 
    I started using Fontlab in 2005 (can't remember which version it was) and have moved with the times and now I am on v8. Although I was drawn to glyphs in its early days, I resisted and never regretted it. I'm still using the most recent version, version 8 as of this writing. It's impressive how this app responds to user requests. I know it could be interesting to know other applications, as well as to know a few languages, but today I don't have enough time to start learning another software. So, I try to know as much as possible the one I've been using for almost 20 years.
  • James Montalbano
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    André Why is this attributed to me?