FontLab vs Glyphs

I am a long time Fog / FontLab user but am considering switching to Glyphs as many have recommended it. I looked at Glyphs and the interface is very different from what I am used to. My question is how difficult is it to switch over? Can Glyphs handle FL files or do they have to be converted? And is it worth the time and effort to switch?
George
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Comments

  • I think you can master Glyphs in less than 8 weeks. It has very good tutorials and a very active and collaborative forum.
  • Don't forget to factor in that Glyphs is Mac-only. If you ever have to do font editing on a foreign computer, or want to teach type design... Like many of my college students can't afford a Mac. So to some extent it can become a matter of principle, in terms of supporting diversity.

    As an aside FL7 can export native Glyphs files (although I haven't tested that much).
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,333
    He already knows FontLab, so I guess if he "has to do font editing on a foreign computer" he can use FontLab.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,333
    The Glyphs export from FL7 works fine.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,333
    You can also import Glyphs files into FL7 if you need to edit a font on Windows.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,364
    edited April 24
    I also was a long-time FL user. Now I am a recent convert to Glyphs and I am VERY happy to have switched. I was very leary and it took me years to finally decide to change. Yes, at first it is frustrating but you get the hang of it. The Glyphs Team is VERY supportive in helping you and in fixing bugs. Most bugs are fixed in one day.

  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,333
    @george_thompson What version of FontLab are you using?

  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,364
    If you have all your legacy FLS files in older versions, upgrade them to the latest 7.2 before exporting them as a Glyphs file. The older versions do a half ass job.
  • James PuckettJames Puckett Posts: 1,764
    When Glyphs 1.0 came out I switched from Fontlab 5 to Glyphs overnight. It only took a few days to get used to Glyphs.
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,333
    edited April 24
    If you're coming from FLS 5, the biggest difference is the integrated metrics/glyph editing view. FLS5 and earlier (and FOG) have separate windows for doing metrics and previews and a glyph editing window that can only handle one glyph at a time.

    I have seen new Glyphs users opening a new tab for each glyph they want to edit, as if they are still thinking in the old paradigm. It's little disorienting at first, but you quickly find that editing an arbitrary number of glyphs in an integrated editor is a much better way to work. It's much easier to see what you're doing in context with other glyphs. 

    FL6 and 7 can also work this way, so if you're used to that, it will be an easier transition.
  • Hin-Tak LeungHin-Tak Leung Posts: 301
    About Glyphs being Mac-only: I and Georg had some e-mails exchanged in the course of last year exploring porting Glyphs to windows, around the time we were fixing the SIP / notorization problem of FontVal on Mac...
  • Ori Ben-DorOri Ben-Dor Posts: 347
    @Chris Lozos
    Could you elaborate on being VERY happy to have switched, please? What are the main pros?
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,364
    @Ori Ben-Dor  The lack of crashes, the speed of fixes, the faster work time, the quick service without begging, the feel of the curve response, the kern classes, the reduction in frustration...
  • Ori Ben-DorOri Ben-Dor Posts: 347
    Funny you should mention kern classes, I've just posted a new discussion regarding kern classes. What does Glyphs do better?
  • AbiRasheedAbiRasheed Posts: 223
    @Ori Ben-Dor  The lack of crashes, the speed of fixes, the faster work time, the quick service without begging, the feel of the curve response, the kern classes, the reduction in frustration...
    I thought the FL forum was quick on these things.  what do you mean by quick service without begging?
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,364
    I don't want to get into a software battle. I will just say that I have used FontLab for 15 years and I have used Glyphs for about 6 months. These were just my anecdotal impressions. Try the demo and kick it around to make your own impressions.  I hold no ill will and wish both developers the best of success and healthy competition. Your experiences may differ.
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,364
    "regarding kern classes. What does Glyphs do better? "

    It is more automated and less tedious. Give it a try.
  • Ori Ben-DorOri Ben-Dor Posts: 347
    I've got Glyphs as well. I use mostly FL (I started with FL and goy used to it), but sometimes I use Glyphs for specific tasks. I will try Glyphs for kerning. Thanks!  
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,093
    @AbiRasheed I reported critical bugs in TransType nearly 5 years ago and I'm still waiting.
  • Nick CookeNick Cooke Posts: 111
    I was reluctant to leave FontLab 5 but having tried FLVI and struggled for months wth it switching to Glyphs was a delight. It took a while to get used to it but now my workflow is so much quicker and better. 
  • Alex VisiAlex Visi Posts: 114
    Another opinion from someone who switched from FL:

    Glyphs manages to balance automation with not oversmarting the designer. Whenever you have an idea of how to improve something about Glyphs, it either can be done a lot easier than you expect or used to in FL, there’s a script for it, or they are going to fix your problem at some point soon-ish. For some other specific things, you can script it yourself (or hire a coder).
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  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,333
    To be honest, if FL7 had been around in 2010-2015, I would probably be using it now instead of Glyphs. The deficiencies of FLS5 (especially lack of retina screen support) is what drove me to try newcomers around that time, first RoboFont and then Glyphs. I'm not inclined to switch back because I'm very happy with Glyphs and its workflow/UI, but I do own a license to FL7 and find it useful sometimes. The fact that it can read and write Glyphs files is very convenient.
  • Nick CookeNick Cooke Posts: 111
    Am I right in thinking that FLVI sparked an exodus to Glyphs? If it wasn’t so terrible I would probably have stayed with FL, but I’m glad I switched anyway. 
  • Chris LozosChris Lozos Posts: 1,364
    Am I right in thinking that FLVI sparked an exodus to Glyphs?
    That and the new MacOS at the time would not support FLS5 so you had to learn a new program, either FL6 which was a total different beast than 5 or Glyphs.  I suffered through the pain of 6 for a few years and tried it but it was so buggy and insane that I moved to Glyphs. Seven was clearly better, especially 7.1 but by then I had become comfortable with Glyphs.  I do still own both and go back and forth on occasion with legacy files but at this point, less and less.

  • Never. Be. The. First. User.
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