Posts tagged with envy-code - page 2

May 2008 checkpoint

I am now settled into my new, albeit temporary, apartment here in Vancouver, BC working for Microsoft!

Joining Microsoft

For those who haven’t been following my blog long I took a job at Microsoft Canada Development Center as a developer on LINQ to SQL. It turns out my H-1B Visa has been approved and I will be moving down to Redmond in October.

Joining a company of Microsoft’s size is a daunting experience. The sheer number of people, departments, systems, procedures and intranet sites to navigate and learn plus of course the actual job of jumping into the product and seeing where we go from here. I’ve also been helping out a little on the forums and internal lists and getting involved in the regular scheduled update meetings.

Of course you also hear all sorts of interesting news just before it becomes public knowledge such as publishing XNA apps to Xbox Live! and Office getting ODF and PDF support.

On the personal front…

A whirlwind couple of weeks full of new employee orientation, relocating, getting lost, filling in forms, exploring, meeting a couple of hundred people and catching up with a few old friends including one from Guernsey all of which lead to a quiet blog.

There have been some personal stories of getting lost, baby sharks and falling in lakes which will be kept to email now – there’s no way those 500+ subscribers are here for my personal bits! I’ll be sending out an email this week so if you haven’t seen something by the weekend and we’re friends ping me and I’ll forward you on a copy.

Some photos are up on Facebook with a few more to follow.

Envy Code R

Of course what everybody really wants to know (according to my inbox) is where Envy Code R preview #7 is.

It is coming, but every time I think I’m close to a release I find another annoying glitch all related to hinting.

Hinting is the process whereby you tell the rendering system how to shape the characters to better fit into a pixel grid. It consists of a table saying at which sizes to smooth and apply instruction plus a program that adjusts the font as a whole for a given size and then a program per-glyph that tells it how to adjust the points in relation to each other with delta hints providing modifications for specific point sizes.

It’s a complicated process if you’re doing it at the lowest level with a tool such as Microsoft’s Visual TrueType but is made easier with a tool like FontLab Studio 5 which has an auto-hinter that often gets things wrong but is a lot easier to work with and works with hints at a higher level of abstraction.

Which is why I parted with $999 on FontLab and I’m going to investigate a donate option to try and recoup some of those costs.

The bold variant is the only one now requiring hinting and I’m hoping to have it done in the next 24-48 hours. The regular variant looks just great… as does italics.


More screen-shots of Envy Code R preview #7

Work on my Envy Code R programming font has resumed and I’ve spent hours playing with the hinting process to ensure it looks good at sizes above and below 10 point:

Screen-shot of Envy Code R PR7 without smoothing on WindowsScreenshot of Envy Code R PR7 with standard smoothing on WindowsScreenshot of Envy Code R PR7 with ClearType on Windows

These look great – even more so when you consider there are no embedded bitmaps and very few delta hints.

There is still a lot of work to do – all the foreign characters, symbols and box-drawing characters (another 600 glyphs) require hinting and I should test it on the Mac, Java and Flash font rendering engines to make sure there are no show-stoppers there.

Preview 7 will consist of of just a plain style regular and bold because I need to get this out – it’s been too long since the last release. Preview 8 will add back italics and the Visual Studio italics-as-bold hack shortly afterwards.

Check out Talios’s shots using Java/Linux and Eddy Young’s shots in NetBeans.

A newer version of Envy Code R is available.


Getting the hint (Where is Envy Code R?)

I know, I said there would be a good chance that the next version of Envy Code R would be out this weekend but the annoying sizing, thickness and cropping issues that came up at some sizes above and below the optimum 10 point were really annoying me.

Many articles later, some playing around with Microsoft Visual TrueType and much frustration and experimentation later I think I’m on the right path.

Here is how Envy Code R is looking on Windows right now with standard font smoothing.

Envy Code R hinted on Windows with standard font smoothing at various sizes

ClearType doesn’t look as good and I’m still learning the black art and the implications of each type of hinting instruction.

Strangely, these hints seem to be ignored on the Mac which is still rendering everything a little too thick especially on curves. Perhaps that is why so many developers create a Mac-specific version?

Once I’m happy with how the regular version works I’ll put it online for download and then whip the bold and italic variants in to shape and any feedback into regular for the proper 0.7 release.

A newer version of Envy Code R is available.


Envy Code R coding font v0.7 preview

Envy Code R font preview #7 highlighting some of the characters in a chartThe next version of my Envy Code R font especially designed for programming (monospaced, easily distinguishable characters) is nearing completion and represents a very response-driven update to feedback, specifically:

  • ReadOnly, Greg Jandl: Comma clarified and change applied to full quotation marks, semi-colons and various accented letters
  • Adrian Bool, Greg Jandl: The slash on the zero has been redrawn to be less heavy
  • jxp: The Euro symbol has been redrawn from scratch
  • Aristotle Pagaltzis: Braces are more curvy and a full set of box-drawing characters have been added
  • IRC: Hash sign with longer legs

I have also fleshed out a number of additional symbols and accented letters that has seen the number of code pages supported increase to 12 pages and made a large number of tweaks to the italic version which was a last-minute addition to 0.6 (PR6) and had a number of errors especially round the accented letters.

Of course what you really want to know is how the new version looks in Visual Studio with that lovely Humane theme of mine:

Envy Code R font at 10 point in Visual Studio 2008 with my Humane theme

There is still some work to do on the sizes above and below 10 point (again) as well as fleshing out a few more symbols, letters and italicizing additional letters such as a curly k and rounder e which I hope will be finished towards the end of this week.

The observant followers may have noticed a pixel has been shaved off the vertical height which now brings it in line with the bitmapped Envy Code B coding font. I had intended on making the change for some time and the box characters practically demanded it to ensure the centers were whole pixels and not off-center but some people may not like it…

A newer version of Envy Code R is available.