I am pleased to welcome Pooja Saxena and Igor Freiberger to the FontLab team!
Some weeks ago we advertised for several kinds of work we needed part-time contractors to help with here at FontLab: testing/QA, documentation and tech support.
We had a small swarm of applicants. There were many plausible candidates, but Igor and Pooja stood out as being both versatile and well qualified. Both will be doing a wide range of tasks here, so you may encounter them in a range of roles. This week we are having Igor focus on reproducing and logging FontLab VI bugs reported by users in our forum, and Pooja working with some of the rest of us on documentation. (The FontLab Studio 5 manual was over 900 pages, and the app is all new, so there is plenty to write about.)
Igor Freiberger is a designer and type designer who has been using FontLab VI since before we even started the public preview, and has been an eager reporter of bugs and issues from very early on. He is a former IT manager and teacher, graphic designer and web designer, and was the first Adobe Certified Expert in Brazil. He is based in Porto Alegre, in the far south of Brazil.
Pooja Saxena is a 2012 graduate of the Reading MA Typeface Design program. Since then, she has been a consultant for large tech companies, including Google, and done type design for Latin and multiple Indic writing systems. Pooja is a regular contributor to the Alphabettes web site. Her work has been featured in several magazines, and covered by the Times of India. She is based in Noida, India (near New Delhi).
Are you a type tech geek & writer? Get paid to become a FontLab VI guru!
Location: wherever you want to work from, remotely!
Hours: part time, whenever you want. Show up for a weekly virtual meeting.
Apply to: “thomas” at the obvious domain.
The Docs Writer will take a major role, with other staff, in documenting FontLab VI. The interface is largely new, and there are many new features.
There is plenty to be done at FontLab, and an energetic candidate with varied skills and interests will be welcome to do other things too! In fact, given the right candidate, this position could be combined with one or both of our other part-time positions: QA tester and tech support.
- Good written English skills
- Some familiarity with a font editing app, such as FontLab Studio 5, Glyphs, RoboFont or FontForge
- Writing experience (bonus: software documentation or other instructional materials)
- Works well independently, “self starter” (a cliché, we know!), copes well with ambiguity, can help define problems as well as attacking them afterwards
- Mac or Windows computer (Mac preferred)
- If Mac, 2560 x 1600 retina screen (or better) recommended.
- If Windows, 1920 x 1080 (or better) screen recommended.
- Write, edit and expand FontLab VI documentation (considerable portions already written)
- Help change the draft docs to be process-oriented
- Illustrate docs with screen shots as appropriate
Optional Duties / Opportunities for Development
- Create tutorial/educational videos for FontLab VI
- Make product workflow & feature suggestions
Appreciated Bonus Attributes:
- Experience using FontLab VI, currently in Public Preview
- Interest in using FontLab VI outside of paid work
- Experience with other font editing apps
- Familiarity with Markdown (a lightweight formatting language used in both our bug tracker and our docs authoring system)
Sometimes a particular app or utility we offer gets old, and we have no intention of updating it, generally because of lack of customer interest. Discontinued programs we do not promote at all, have no web page for, and do not appear in our regular store. Deprecated ones we have no current intention of updating, label the web page as such, but do still have a page for and store presence (ScanFont, BitFonter).
Mostly, we discontinue: just remove those product pages and discontinue the product entirely. I have done this with a number of things we have offered, such as FOGlamp (it converted Fontographer native files directly to FontLab Studio—newer versions of FontLab Studio just open those old FOG files). In such cases, if you desperately need it for some reason, contact our sales department and they may be able to hook you up.
But sometimes a product has a peculiar combination of attributes:
- It wasn’t selling enough units that it makes sense for us to update it or make a new version.
- Some people who want it or need it have no reasonable other alternative. Maybe any competing products don’t have the same features, or are not offered on the same operating systems. Or they just do not exist!
So, we keep web pages live for these programs and sell them, because we know a few people really need them. We also label them as deprecated. What does that mean?
- We have no current plans to create a new version of this product. (Some or all functionality from this product might be folded into something else.)
- Support for this app has some limitations. We still try to support it, but if there is a problem that is a known bug… well, there may never be a fix. Our expertise/ability to support it will likely be in a gradual decline.
Mac-specific issues for deprecated apps:
- In some cases (BitFonter, ScanFont), the Mac version of this product no longer runs on any recent MacOS, and our solution for Mac users is to bundle the Windows app in a WINE wrapper. This makes a larger app that is running the Windows version under emulation, on a Mac.
- Generally, the Mac version of the app has not been updated to be “retina savvy.” This means that on any recent Mac hardware with a double-res “retina” monitor, the app will still work, but some elements of the app will run at half that resolution and seem blurry. This can be worked around to some degree by running your Mac in a higher but non-retina screen resolution, but that is a compromise between blur and things getting smaller. If you run at full resolution but non-retina, everything will be very crisp but half-size. A utility such as QuickRes or DisplayMenu can help give you more choices for non-standard Mac resolutions. (Note: Even some of our non-deprecated apps are not retina-savvy. I will have a separate post about this soon.)
For the latter part of last year, and all this year, we have been expecting and saying that FontLab VI would ship, well, “this year” (2016). But we are not going to make that, as became clear to us earlier this month. Instead, we currently expect to ship in February.
FontLab VI in action (click for full size)
We could have hurried up with the last couple of things and “just shipped it.” But anybody who has used software a long time knows what that will do—FontLab VI just needs more “bake time.” That is, time for us all continue to give it a real workout, doing extensive and ongoing type design tasks, so we can find and fix a bunch more bugs and usability issues before we ship it.
We continue to make prerelease builds available, and even more frequently! Another one just came out on December 15th. If you already have a Public Preview build on Mac or Windows, just launch it and it will prompt you to download and install the newest built. If not, you can register and get emailed a download link from our Preview page. When you find problems in the Public Preview, please report them in our user forum! We appreciate your help and feedback in making this a better app.
FontLab VI, like previous versions, is a very flexible tool that can be used in many ways. That means it has many possible workflows. This is great, but means the app will really benefit from feedback from real-world users trying real-world tasks. Not just us doing things the way we would do them.
We really want to make FontLab VI a great tool for type designers and font friends everywhere. Thanks for your support.
Windows users, your font editor of tomorrow is nearly ready! For all you Windows users who have been patiently waiting for something new and better than FontLab Studio 5, there is now a Windows version of the free FontLab VI Public Preview. (Plus an updated Mac Public Preview.)
Visit fontlab.com/vi, learn about the features, register and download FontLab VI Public Preview for Windows now! Once you’ve downloaded and installed it, you can use its current full functionality. The current build will expire by the end of the month, but you will be notified of a new Public Preview build via the built-in auto-update system. FontLab VI Public Preview will remain free until we ship the final app!
What’s FontLab VI?
FontLab VI is our next-generation professional font editor, crafted for type designers and font geeks. Five years in the making, we’re still putting finishing touches on it. It’s a massive upgrade over FontLab Studio 5, and remains the only true cross-platform type design and font creation app. With FontLab VI, you get the same high performance, clean user interface, and innovative font making tools on Mac OS X and Windows.
What’s new in FontLab VI?
Seasoned FontLab Studio 5 users will find lots of familiar elements in FontLab VI, but we’ve carefully upgraded and polished each of them. The new Font Window allows for visual sorting, smart searching and filtering, and provides a table view that exposes lots of numerical glyph data. We’ve unified the Glyph Window and Metrics Window so you can access the Metrics and Kerning tools right from the main app toolbar. We’ve renamed the Class panel into the Groups panel, but it remains the home for Kerning and OpenType groups.
In place of the limited Components, FontLab VI introduces Cloned Shapes that keep bidirectional live links between contours that appear in different glyphs. FontLab VI still has the View, Transform, OpenType Features and Python Scripting panels, but we’ve redesigned each of those functions so you can achieve your goals faster.
FontLab VI also brings a lot of brand-new functionality. You can automatically Create Overlaps and even attach TrueType Hinting commands to PostScript outlines. You can scale your contours up and down or slant them back and forth losslessly thanks to FontLab VI’s internal fractional coordinate system. We’ve invented new contour design tools: the superfast Rapid drawing tool, Tunni Lines and Genius points for better curvature control; the Fill tool that lets you forget about path direction and allows you to simply turn contours or intersection areas black or white; the Power Brush for quick prototyping of calligraphic strokes; and the awesome Power Nudge mode that lets you typographically correctly condense, expand or transform your contours in a fraction of the time.
FontLab VI supports all of Unicode 9, including color emoji, and all of OpenType 1.8, including Arabic or Indic shaping as well as color and variable OpenType fonts. Speaking of variable fonts: in this build, you cannot yet generate them, but you can open them, and you can set up an unlimited number of font-wide or per-glyph Masters in a MutatorMath- and OpenType Variations-compatible design space, which is backwards-compatible with FontLab Studio 5’s Multiple Master model but much more flexible.
FontLab VI has unlimited glyphs, unlimited layers, multi-line multi-glyph editing, full color support, tag-based multi-glyph guides and zones, Anchor-based mark attachment, complex metrics linking via expressions, and the list goes on and on. And you can convert between various font formats, including .ttf, .otf, .vfb, .ufo, .glyphs, and all the color OpenType fonts such as OpenType+SVG.
What’s the Public Preview for Windows?
With the FontLab VI Public Preview, you get the full current functionality for free until we ship the final version. You can create, open, edit and generate fully-functioning OpenType fonts, you can turn your images or Illustrator artwork into fonts, you can do spacing, kerning, hinting. And you can use FontLab VI Public Preview alongside of your other tools such as FontLab Studio 5, Fontographer or RoboFont.
Because we develop FontLab VI on a cross-platform framework, the feature set of the Public Preview for Windows is practically identical to the established Mac version, and we expect only a few platform-specific bugs, likely largely interface-related (most other bugs that occur are cross-platform).
The Windows version of FontLab VI is a 32-bit app that runs on both 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows XP through to Windows 10. We have specifically tested it on Windows XP, 7 and 10. When we release new builds of the Public Preview, you will be notified via the built-in auto-update mechanism.
Please report bugs in our user forum.
Some keyboard shortcuts in the menus are marked with a “Meta” modifier key. They are not accessible. The Mac has three modifier keys: “Ctrl,” “Alt” and “Cmd,” while Windows computers only have two that can be used by app developers: “Ctrl” and “Alt”. We’re working hard on providing sensible keyboard shortcuts for our Windows users, but this will take a while yet!