A FontLab 6 intervention



  • George ThomasGeorge Thomas Posts: 602
    edited July 2016
    @Chris Lozos The encoding files are stored in the app package at ~/Applications/FontLab VI.app/Contents/Resources/Encoding. The engineers are aware this isn't the right place for it so the location will be changed eventually.

    So if you have a custom encoding file, for the time being you will have to put it in that location and each time you update to a newer version you will need to remember to replace it.

  • Chris, I believe that part of the problem is because all these betas are very incomplete and undocumented. I tried hard some of the early ones, but these more recent are frustrating. The tester has no idea if a menu or panel is presenting problems or it is just a mock up to functionalities still to be added.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,424
    Craig, I was up and running using Fontlab 10 years ago in an hour.  Occasionally, I would get stuck enough to have to ask someone a small thing.  Then I actually read the manual and was really off and running.  I could pick up other bits on Typophile as needed and got great insight from guys like John Hudson and Mark Simonson   I designed a multi-weight typeface in a couple of months [yes, it sucked].  I have been banging my head on the FLSVI since they put it out to test a couple of years ago and have yet to produce a thing with it.  Understand that I have all my glyphs drawn, spaced and kerned from FLS5. Features are done, classes are done.  I am not asking a great deal of the thing, just a freakin clue where they have hidden everything and why they felt the need to do so.  I should not worry, at my age, I will be dead before it is released anyway ;-P
  • John HudsonJohn Hudson Posts: 2,485
    all these betas are very incomplete and undocumented
    Note that the FontLab guys don't call these preview releases 'betas'; they don't even call them alphas. These are previews of specific functionality and features of the upcoming version. There's lots in them that is far from finalised or not yet implemented. It's not expected that designers will be able to start production work in these preview releases.
  • The problem I was trying to describe is not relate to do production with a preview version. The issue here is that you don't know exactly what is ready enough for test and bug report and what is just an early draft and you can't even try. And this is not limited to given commands or features. Panels were improving since version 0.3, but they became quite unstable some iterations ago and stopped working in the 0.9. Other example: Index order was working well up to 0.8.x, but became strange since 0.9.x.

    I like FL5 very much and think that FLVI will be a great tool. I still hope they release it prior to everybody migrate to other apps. But the ups and downs in its long development cycle are not helping to keep FL users optimistic.
  • Ramiro EspinozaRamiro Espinoza Posts: 820
    edited July 2016
    I know a couple of type designers who are already using the current FL VI to draw their letters. I also found it very confortable. I would just like to have some basic video tutorials.
  • Everyone who tries Glyphs and feels lost: You are very welcome to approach Georg or me at any convenient moment, and have a personal one-on-one Q&A session with either of us. Catch us at every other type conference (TypeCon, ATypI, Typo Berlin, you name it; ), or contact us via DM, e-mail, or forum, and arrange for a Skype session.
  • Overly complicated, abandoning the interface we have all come to be comfortable with.
    There are two distinct issues here. If it is overly complicated, that is definitely a problem.

    Also, “we” is referring to existing FontLab users, and especially those currently using the app. As a group, you are our most important single audience... but not the only one. 

    What the hell is a "Project" anyway.
    To quote from what I wrote on our user forums:

    A “Project” is a container for fonts you want to have open at the same time. You could put a bunch of fonts from a family into a single project. Or an initial font and a derivative font. Or whatever combination you like. Note: While a project can contain any number of fonts, it may not be very useful to have a project for just one font.

     (I need to add this to to the user manual. I have been focusing more on the online manual in recent weeks and getting more help on it as well. You should see significant progress pretty quickly as we publish the updates and more content.)

    Case in point, at the recent Typographics conference in NYC, Georg from Glyphs was busy evangelizing the program. He spent hours with me helping me to understand and become more comfortable with it. Tom Phinney, president of FL was there and all I remember him talking about was where to find good Indian food.
    Yes, and I had some lovely long conversations over lunches and got useful feedback. :) I also showed and explained things about FontLab to many interested folks both over lunches and in meetings at the conference. I would have been happy to spend time with you as well, and still am, at whatever future event. Maybe TypeCon?

    And to everyone: please feel free to come up and chat with me at conferences! I am especially happy to make time for anybody who wants to discuss or see a demo of FontLab VI, whether you are a Big Name Type Designer or not. Although I do seek out these opportunities, I do not always know who wishes I would approach them.

    Is there any desire out there to pressure the FL boys into listening to us. I've posted on the forum and sent emails to the individuals but the long painful process of this new incarnation keeps marching along and all it does is alienate me.y.
    Maybe there is some confusion between “listening” and “abandoning this new app”?

    There are a few folks who want FontLab to abandon FontLab VI as it exists now and go back to FLS 5 and give them their old familiar interface. Doing that on the new code base would also entail abandoning much new functionality, and would set back development by some vast amount. That is just not going to happen. (Going back to the old code base with huge amounts of separate code for each platform and so on is also not going to happen—that way truly lies madness.)

     What is possible is incremental change, and even some large changes. That is why there is a public preview. We can improve VI and make it a better app that functions in ways you would like more. No, we aren’t going to throw it out and start over. We are looking at the existing VI app in development as our starting point, because that is the current code base. That doesn’t mean you can’t reference something from FLS 5. But telling us to throw out something from VI and make it precisely like FLS 5 is less helpful.

    Telling us exactly *why* you like an implementation from 5 better, with suggestions as to how VI could change, is more work for you, but is actually actionable for us in a way that “throw it all away” is not.

    I think we have had this conversation over on the FL forums as well, and I am not sure there is much that I am saying here that is new to you. But we are always eager to hear feedback!


  • Personally, I also want the customisable icons bar back. I understand that FL VI is a new thing but I don't see why it is leaving excellent features behind.
  • Ofir ShavitOfir Shavit Posts: 371
    edited August 2016
    Funny, the first UI principle I was sure about when planning Fontark was to eliminate the "windows" concept. I think that dragging and piling up windows is such a bad idea (a 90's customisation mania's flaw), it forces you to always deal with the interface instead of the face. A good fixed interface layout with contextual UI display is much better imo.

    I can understand the difficulties and struggle one has to go through if adapted to it, I didn't try FLVI, but if it goes in that direction I think it is very good and worth the effort of changing some habits. 
  • Yes, being able to drag tabs into separate windows/monitors seems important.
    This is is super-important. Even essential, arguably.
  • Yes, being able to drag tabs into separate windows/monitors seems important.
    AFAIK, this feature is already there. The first checkbox in Preferences / General makes  (when turned off) all windows open as windows not as tabs. Detaching tabs is also quite easy. Yes, we tried to get rid of the "windows" concept but it seems our old beloved fans are starting to overcome. :smile:
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,495
    P.S.: If I was a die-hard FL user, I would bite the bullet and get used to the new version just for the Retina support.
  • Michael JarboeMichael Jarboe Posts: 265
    edited August 2016
    @Mark Simonson With Glyphs do you still use Superpolator, and kern with Glyphs or MetricsMachine?
  • There's really no reason to pile up windows and drag them all over. If something should be visible it should have a designated space, the screen's area is given, it's an illusion that with dragable/resizeable/pileable windows you can use it better. Even a PowerPoint layout is better than windows, ask a 10 years old. 
    Maybe there's a problem with the solution you came up with, figure it up and don't look back.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,495
    With Glyphs do you still use Superpolator, and kern with Glyphs or MetricsMachine?

    They can be used, but it doesn't usually seem necessary. If I'm doing a project in Robofont, which I still do sometimes, then yes.
  • Ofir, I can think of essentially unlimited screen configurations and requirements that someone may be working within. It's kind of the furthest from given I can imagine. In any given day I might be on my 13" laptop, plugged into an external monitor, or using both. Some people use 2+ screens etc etc
  • Ofir ShavitOfir Shavit Posts: 371
    edited August 2016
    Jack, You only switch from one given area to another, windows has no advantage in any.
  • attarattar Posts: 209
    > The non-native UI is weird.

    I think they didn't do a bad job of it. Mostly it has its own themes and stuff like Adobe apps I guess.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,367
    edited August 2016
    // Telling us exactly *why* you like an implementation from 5 better, with suggestions as to how VI could change//

    Font Window • Glyph Window • Metrics Window • Preview Window that can all reside in different monitors if desired.
    That's been in VI for many many months. It was a bit buggy when we started the Public Preview last year, but that has long been cleared up.

    I use FontLab VI all in one window on my laptop screen, or spread across three monitors and many windows, depending on what I am doing and where I am doing it.
  • Ramiro EspinozaRamiro Espinoza Posts: 820
    edited August 2016
    @Thomas Phinney As important as fixing bugs in VI, is to produce some video tutorials. Please create some, no matter if they are not very fancy. This surely will increase the number of users and there will be more testing. It's very difficult to use the application with no documentation.
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  • It used to be so simple, now it is just insane.
    Rather, it used to be so familiar, now it is just insane. The UI was never simple.
    Steep learning curve, yes.  It's human nature to suppress it - "the curse of knowledge". 
    Learning Fontlab was rough.
  • I have only one question - where is the Windows Public Preview?... as a die hard Windows user, I feel very left-out and I guess there is a bunch of people asking the same. These days everything concerning type design seems so Mac oriented that it makes me wonder why FL is not grabbing the golden opportunity to be the savior of the Windows based community before we all migrate. For now they are doing quite the opposite. 
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited August 2016
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  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,367
    edited August 2016
    I had hoped to get the Windows public preview out this week, actually. But it was suffering the same install glitch as the latest Mac delivery: only installs correctly over top of an old install, because it does not include the preferences.

    Obviously this is a fatal issue for the Windows version as basically nobody already has it already installed (and would have been a showstopper for the Mac if we had caught it in time).

    So, real soon.
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