Format 14 cmap subtable

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PJMiller
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Re: Format 14 cmap subtable

Postby PJMiller » Fri Mar 18, 2016 7:04 pm

Why would I even need a Format 14 cmap subtable?

What could I do with it which I can't do now?

BabelStone
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Re: Format 14 cmap subtable

Postby BabelStone » Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:38 am

Erwin Denissen wrote:I'm not really familiar with this, so I wonder if you could suggest how the user interface should look?


I'm afraid that I don't have any suggestions as to how you would implement it -- perhaps you could check and see how it is implemented in other font editors.

I just know that this is an essential feature for me and anyone working on fonts for scripts or symbol sets that use variation sequences. Maths, Myanmar, Phags-pa, Manichaean, Mongolian, Emoji and CJK fonts may all require support for variation sequences (http://unicode.org/Public/UNIDATA/StandardizedVariants.txt), and for Windows 7 and later variation sequences are only supported as a cmap Format 14 subtable (see bottom of https://www.microsoft.com/typography/otspec/cmap.htm for details of the subtable format).

I just upgraded to FontCreator 10, and am disappointed that not only is the Format 14 subtable not supported, but it is silently deleted from the font if it does already exist. At present I have three different fonts that use variation sequences, and every time I make a change to the fonts in FontCreator I have to reinsert the Format 14 subtable using the TTX font tool, which is extremely tiresome.

BabelStone
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Re: Format 14 cmap subtable

Postby BabelStone » Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:43 am

PJMiller wrote:Why would I even need a Format 14 cmap subtable?

What could I do with it which I can't do now?


A Format 14 cmap subtable is the recommended way of implementing variation sequences, and is the only way of supporting variation sequences in a font under Windows 7 and later (see https://www.microsoft.com/typography/otspec/cmap.htm for details of this table). If you want to create Maths, Myanmar, Phags-pa, Manichaean, Mongolian, Emoji or CJK fonts that support Unicode variation sequences (http://unicode.org/Public/UNIDATA/StandardizedVariants.txt) then you need to use a Format 14 cmap subtable. Without this table you cannot support variation sequences on Windows.

Erwin Denissen
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Re: Format 14 cmap subtable

Postby Erwin Denissen » Mon Aug 15, 2016 8:36 am

I understand your needs for this, and we really intend to add support for Unicode Variation Sequences. However currently other features have priority, so even though this is on the to-do list, it will take some time.

If more people want this functionality, or can provide more information about how this should be included in our font editor, do let us know!
Erwin Denissen
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BabelStone
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Re: Format 14 cmap subtable

Postby BabelStone » Tue Dec 06, 2016 2:07 pm

Erwin Denissen wrote:I'm not really familiar with this, so I wonder if you could suggest how the user interface should look?


I think that it would not be too difficult to add support for the Format 14 cmap subtable. I think it could be done in a similar way to which OpenType features are supported in FontCreator. I envisage that there would be a new Format 14 subtable item under the Font menu, which when selected would open an editing window similar to (but much simpler than) the OpenType features editing window. This would allow the user to define variation sequences (sequences of one base character and one Unicode variation selector character), and map them to glyphs in the font. There would be preview facility (as for OpenType features), and a button that opens up a text editor that enables the user to manually edit the variation sequences (this is essential as many thousands of variation sequences may be defined for CJK fonts). When the font is generated by FontCreator then if the number of defined variation sequences is greater than zero an addition Format 14 cmap table is added.

Do you think that you could implement this for the next major release? I have been waiting for 7 years, and I am getting desperate. I love FontCreator, but without support for Format 14 cmap subtable and vhea/vmtx tables I will have look for other solutions.

Andrew

Erwin Denissen
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Re: Format 14 cmap subtable

Postby Erwin Denissen » Thu Dec 08, 2016 2:10 pm

We have limited resources and right now it seems you are the only customer who needs it. Don't get me wrong; we would really like to implement this, but even basic support for it would take weeks.
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BabelStone
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Re: Format 14 cmap subtable

Postby BabelStone » Thu Dec 08, 2016 2:47 pm

As a software developer myself I can understand that it may not seem like a priority for you. Nevertheless, Format 14 cmap subtable is supported by other font editors, and Unicode variation sequences are getting more and more widely implemented, especially for CJK fonts as the Ideographic Variation Database defines many thousands of ideographic variation sequences. Variation sequences are now also used for emoji, to specify whether a character should be rendered in text style or emoji style, and as you may be aware emoji are extremely hot at present, and implemented as a priority on all platforms. By not supporting the Format 14 cmap subtable you are severely restricting the market for FontCreator among developers of CJK and emoji fonts. It may take several weeks' development time, but I think the benefits to you will make it worthwhile in the long run, and so I urge you to reconsider your decision.


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