Sunday, April 11, 2010

My very own programming font

I think fonts are the second best friends of programmers.

When I was a kid I used only Lucida Console, it was easy to find on every Windows installation and had a nice monospace feel. After some time I found the Proggy font family and I never looked back. Proggy was my only font for ages. It was very compact and it let me see more lines of code in those small CRT monitors of the time without losing clarity.

A good programming font makes easy for you to distinguish a zero '0' from a capital letter 'O'; a number '1' from a letter 'l'; and render all the operators and common programming symbols in a way that is very easy to distinguish one from another. (an exclamation '!' from a vertical bar '|', a parenthesis '(' from a bracket '[', etc) But even the good times come to an end.

And the end came with the advent of bigger monitors and bigger screen resolutions. The problem with Proggy was that it never looked good with sizes bigger than the default (11), and that was very small for me to see in the new resolutions. I did my best effort, but I already use heavy glasses to allow me the strain of small fonts all the day, it was overkill.

So I sadly had to look for a replacement. I surfed the web looking at all the other programming fonts ever created, nothing caught my attention. I tested many of them but all the time I found myself missing something. After a long time, and because I had to work, I ended with Consolas.

But it never was love. I had to said every time I started my editor 'I really like this font', I was making my best effort but deep root I knew it was only because I couldn't find anything better.

This night I changed again monitors and looking at some code of mine I finally realized that Consolas was definitively not my font, so I decided to create my very own font: Lucida Console Ex. Yes I'm returning to my origins, maybe I'm already old.

I'm not really sure if I would end liking this font, maybe creating a bigger Proggy font could be the only acceptable solution. And to clarify, I just modified the default Lucida Console font adding the things I missed the most.

No comments:

Post a Comment