Are OpenType and budget software incompatible?

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William
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Are OpenType and budget software incompatible?

Post by William » Mon Jun 16, 2008 10:41 am

I am feeling frustrated about wishing to use OpenType yet finding that the only OpenType-aware applications which are available seem to be very expensive in America and enormously expensive in the United Kingdom.

I am seeking an end-user application that is OpenType-aware, that is straightforward to use and that has a budget price, say about £50 in United Kingdom pounds, which is something about €80 in euros, though exchange rates vary in time.

I had looked forward to the release of Serif PagePlus X3 hoping that OpenType glyph substitution for ligatures would be implemented, but this did not happen.

I have wondered as to what is the possibility of writing such an application myself. Although I have some experience of programming, it is not deep into modern object-oriented programming with lots of pointers and so on.

So I am wondering what are the possibilities.

I am wondering whether the reason that budget software is not made with OpenType-aware features is because of the difficulty of programming OpenType-aware features into a wordprocessor or into a desktop publishing package or is it more a matter of policy that such things are regarded by businesses that produce software as only of interest to a small number of users?

I note that even the very expensive packages sometimes only have limited OpenType support. For example, if a font has more than one alternative glyph for a character, then only the first alternative glyph for the character can be accessed.

This seems strange to me. OpenType has been around for about a decade now, yet application packages which have glyph substitution facilities seem to be comparatively rare and expensive.

It was back in 2002 that I first introduced the golden ligatures collection of Private Use Area codepoints for ligatures. This was criticised at the time as not the way that ligatures should be done. Yet six years later the situation has hardly changed. Indeed the only real change is that whereas many fonts used to have ligature glyphs in wrong places in the Unicode map, there is now a tendancy for them to be in the Unicode Private Use Area.

I am just wondering why it seems that having OpenType glyph substitution in a budget price application package such as a wordprocessor or a desktop publishing package seems such an impossible thing to happen!

William Overington

16 June 2008

Edited on 17 June 2008 to change "Yet eight years ..." to "Yet six years ..." as from 2002 to 2008 is six years!
Last edited by William on Tue Jun 17, 2008 6:58 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Are OpenType and budget software incompatible?

Post by Mike Thompson » Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:41 am

I'm considering converting Mike Hebrew into an Open Type font. I have exactly the same concerns as William.
Currently I do not have any software which I can use to test an Open Type font.

The only word processor I can find in the budget price range that fully supports Open Type is Mellel which
runs only on the Mac. Mellel was implemented (in Israel) to support Hebrew, Arabic, Persian and other languages
that heavily depend on Open Type features.

I read that maybe Open Office will fully support Open Type by the end of 2009 (but who knows?)

I'm disappointed that Open Type is not supported on the PC except through expensive software.

Mike
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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Are OpenType and budget software incompatible?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:52 am

It would be better to discuss this on the Serif or OpenOffice forums, because FontCreator is not a word-processor. If OpenType support is implemented in PagePlus X4 (doubtful IMO), or in OpenOffice 3.2 (possible), then would be the time to discuss implementing support in FontCreator.

There is also Scribus, an Open Source DTP program. I expect you would find more useful answers from Scribus or OpenOffice users. The developers are working on OpenType Feature support for non latin scripts.
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Re: Are OpenType and budget software incompatible?

Post by Mike Thompson » Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:19 pm

Bhikkhu, Thanks for drawing my attention to Scribus. Looks promising however...

My first attempt to use it was disconcerting. I created a new document. Inserted a text frame,
then right click and chose Get Text... I selected an Open Office document with some Hebrew in it.
The Hebrew appeared but within each word the order of the letters was reversed!

Mike
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Re: Are OpenType and budget software incompatible?

Post by Dave Crosby » Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:59 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:It would be better to discuss this on the Serif or OpenOffice forums, because FontCreator is not a word-processor. If OpenType support is implemented in PagePlus X4 (doubtful IMO), or in OpenOffice 3.2 (possible), then would be the time to discuss implementing support in FontCreator.

There is also Scribus, an Open Source DTP program. I expect you would find more useful answers from Scribus or OpenOffice users. The developers are working on OpenType Feature support for non latin scripts.
I disagree. This forum is about fonts. If there are no applications for a font then that is germane.
There has been a lot of discussion about whether to implement OTF items like hinting.
Why have any of those discussions if OTF is off limits?

BTW, Erwin's note that Microsoft has now converted all FC TTF fonts into OTF still has me scratching my head.

Without this discussion I would probably never have heard about Scribus.
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Re: Are OpenType and budget software incompatible?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Mar 26, 2009 6:36 pm

Dave Crosby wrote:There has been a lot of discussion about whether to implement OTF items like hinting. Why have any of those discussions if OTF is off limits?
Because hinting is supported by all Windows applications — even notepad can benefit from hinting.

This discussion will bear little fruit here because whether FontCreator supports OpenType Features or not, it will make not one iota of difference to the Serif developers or developers of other free or low cost programs. There are already plenty of free and high quality OpenType fonts available, but still no one rates this new feature as a high enough priority to justify the time needed to implement it.

If you want to see it happen, then discuss it where it might perhaps have some effect — in the OpenOffice forums for example. I did not say that discussion of this topic was off limits. I pointed out that discussing elsewhere would be better, i.e. it might actually get some results.

If enough people are interested to discuss it on the Serif forums, then the developers might think about it, but clearly the level of interest in OpenType fonts is insignificant — just three people showed any interest after a year, although I updated the thread a few times when I released new fonts.
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Re: Are OpenType and budget software incompatible?

Post by Dave Crosby » Sat Mar 28, 2009 6:56 pm

You are right, but even discussions there have born little fruit.
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Re: Are OpenType and budget software incompatible?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Apr 11, 2009 9:09 pm

I discovered from this post that Firefox 3 supports Ligatures in OpenType fonts. If the following code is used on a web page and the named font contains ligatures, then they are used.

Code: Select all

<p style="text-rendering: optimizeLegibility; font-family: Palatino Linotype; font-size: 60px;">
Firefox3 Ligature Test.png
Firefox3 Ligature Test.png (36.96 KiB) Viewed 11163 times
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Re: Are OpenType and budget software incompatible?

Post by William » Mon Apr 13, 2009 6:16 am

Thank you for your post and thank you also to the poster of the post to which you referred.

I am using Windows xp professional and I downloaded and installed Firefox 3.0.8. I decided to try my own Chronicle Text Experiments font that is available on the web as follows.

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ngo/CHRONTXE.TTF

The following two posts include notes about the font.

viewtopic.php?p=6608#p6608

viewtopic.php?p=6615#p6615

Having observed ligature substitution work using just a few words (Actually a distinctive typeface.) I then tried a larger test. The font has quite a number of ligatures.

Here is the source code of the file that I used.

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN">
<html>
<head>
<title>Test Ligatures</title>
</head>
<body>

<p style="text-rendering: optimizeLegibility; font-family: Chronicle Text Experiments; font-size: 40px;">
Actually distinctive typeface apple copper lock offer field flow office affluent churn change between choose.
</p>

</body>
</html>

Here is a graphic made from part of a Print Screen of the result.
ligatures.png
A graphic which includes some of the ligatures of the Chronicle Text Experiments font
ligatures.png (12.37 KiB) Viewed 11123 times
William Overington

13 April 2009

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Can one ask Firefox 3.0.8 to switch on discretionary ligatur

Post by William » Sat Apr 18, 2009 7:36 am

Recently Bhikkhu Pesala published his Cankama font in the Gallery.

viewtopic.php?f=10&t=2671

I decided to try to access the ligatures using Mozilla Firefox.

So, I prepared a file opentestCankama.htm and tried the test.

Here is the text of a later version of that file. A later version because the original was copied from a test designed for my 10000 Q font as used in the following post and just the font name changed, so I later altered opentestCankama.htm so as to try the ligature set of the Cankama font.

viewtopic.php?p=11272#p11272

Here is a transcript of the opentestCankama.htm file.

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN">
<html>
<head>
<title>Test Ligatures</title>
</head>
<body>

<p style="text-rendering: optimizeLegibility; font-family: Cankama; font-size: 40px;">
offer field flood official affluent &#383;tone distinctive lock actually fjord frankly often comfy fft ffy fty space train

otter butty type quartz Queen Thanks
</p>

</body>
</html>

I noticed that Firefox 3.0.8 displayed some of the ligatures but not others.

For example, fi yes, ct no.

Upon reflection I realized that maybe Bhikkhu Pesala had encoded fi and some others as mandatory ligatures and had encoded ct and some others as discretionary ligatures. This is certainly a reasonable thing to do, Bhikkhu Pesala mentioned InDesign, not Firefox!

This post is to ask if there is any way to ask Firefox 3.0.8 to display discretionary ligatures, such as by changing the text-rendering: command to say something as well as, or instead of, optimizeLegibility.

An interesting factor is that Bhikkhu Pesala also allows Private Use Area code point access to the ligatures. I have managed to have Firefox 3.0.8 display the word actually using the ct ligature by noting that the ct ligature is mapped to U+EEC5, calculating that the decimal equivalent of the hexadecimal value EEC5 is 61125 and then adding the following to a copy of the html file.

a&#61125;ually

However, it would be nice if one can ask Firefox 3.0.8 to switch on discretionary ligatures.

William Overington

18 April 2009

Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Are OpenType and budget software incompatible?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:47 pm

The font designer should decide which ligatures are "standard" and which are "discretional." I don't think there is any hard and fast rule. For a medieval font design, the designer could decide that all ligatures would be standard.
William wrote:However, it would be nice if one can ask Firefox 3.0.8 to switch on discretionary ligatures.
The Firefox forum is the right place to make that request.
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Re: Are OpenType and budget software incompatible?

Post by William » Sat Apr 18, 2009 3:05 pm

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:The font designer should decide which ligatures are "standard" and which are "discretional." I don't think there is any hard and fast rule. For a medieval font design, the designer could decide that all ligatures would be standard.
I suppose that, if you so choose, that there could also be a Cankama Medieval font where all of the ligatures are standard (I had used the term mandatory, yet I remember now that the term is standard) and there are long s ligatures as well, all set up as standard ligatures.

I have observed that this style of black letter font was sometimes used in 16th Century England for whole books.

In metal type there were various versions in the 20th Century, one was called Light English Text and one was called Old English Text.

The designs of some letters, such as v and w might vary from size to size within one typeface.

One thing that I did notice in versions advertised by different typefounders, was that in some the W was similar to a UU ligature, as in Cankama and in others the W was similar to a VV ligature.

As an interesting typographic aspect, I was wondering if, should you decide to include an alternate glyph for W in the font, how would one set it up in the OpenType tables, so that in an application such as InDesign the alternate glyph was available and known as being an alternate glyph of W?

William Overington

18 April 2009

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Re: Are OpenType and budget software incompatible?

Post by William » Mon Sep 13, 2010 8:26 am

Earlier in this thread, timestamped as 13 Apr 2009 06:16.
William wrote:Thank you for your post and thank you also to the poster of the post to which you referred.

I am using Windows xp professional and I downloaded and installed Firefox 3.0.8. I decided to try my own Chronicle Text Experiments font that is available on the web as follows.

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ngo/CHRONTXE.TTF

I have recently been using some rather nice free software, Serif WebPlus Starter Edition and have found that if I use the HTML Text Frame Tool to draw a frame and then typeset words such as actually and copper using the Chronicle Text Experiments font and then preview the page using Firefox (I currently have version 3.6.9 in use) that the OpenType ligatures are used in the display.

Looking at the source code for the web page that Serif WebPlus Starter Edition produces, all of the HTML about style and the font has been done automatically by the program.

The software is available from the following webspace.

http://www.serif.co.uk

At the home page one needs to click on Free Downloads and then choose WebPlus.

Registration is necessary, but that is free.

William Overington

13 September 2010

perryl788

Re: Are OpenType and budget software incompatible?

Post by perryl788 » Mon Jan 10, 2011 11:48 pm

William wrote:Earlier in this thread, timestamped as 13 Apr 2009 06:16.
William wrote:Thank you for your post and thank you also to the poster of the post to which you referred.

I am using Windows xp professional and I downloaded and installed Firefox 3.0.8. I decided to try my own Chronicle Text Experiments font that is available on the web as follows.

http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~ngo/CHRONTXE.TTF

I have recently been using some rather nice free software, Serif WebPlus Starter Edition and have found that if I use the HTML Text Frame Tool to draw a frame and then typeset words such as actually and copper using the Chronicle Text Experiments font and then preview the page using Firefox (I currently have version 3.6.9 in use) that the OpenType ligatures are used in the display.

Looking at the source code for the web page that Serif WebPlus Starter Edition produces, all of the HTML about style and the font has been done automatically by the program.

The software is available from the following webspace.

http://www.serif.co.uk

At the home page one needs to click on Free Downloads and then choose WebPlus.

Registration is necessary, but that is free.

William Overington

13 September 2010
Thanks for the software tip. I have not used Serif WebPlus Starter Edition, but it looks like it will serve well to meet my needs. do you all know if there is a mac version of this software. If there is not a mac version, is there something like it on the mac side. Thanks for your help.

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Re: Are OpenType and budget software incompatible?

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:51 pm

perryl788 wrote:I have not used Serif WebPlus Starter Edition, but it looks like it will serve well to meet my needs. do you all know if there is a mac version of this software. If there is not a mac version, is there something like it on the mac side. Thanks for your help.
There's no Mac (or Linux) versions of any of Serif's software, nor is there likely to be in the foreseeable future.

The latest version of PagePlus X5 now supports OpenType fonts. I don't suspect that will be added to WebPlus any time soon as even non web-safe font support in browsers is relatively new, let alone OpenType features.

The Serif Forums would be the best place to ask about Serif software.
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