I've made a little research about typography in the last week because
everybody on the list was talking about this "this time we get it
right"-thing. And here are the problems I see and some suggestions to it:
First of all (although perhaps the least important), it would be good to
have a well-designed font selection dialog, that allows a quick
selection of a font even when you have a lot of fonts installed and
you're perhaps searching for a specific font face and you don't know the
name of a specific font that fulfills your needs.
A little googling then pointed me to that site:
I clearly see the problem that a well-designed font-dialog is a task
that should be implemented in the toolkit, so gtk+ in our case, but I
think it's important to point out that this is a thing which is really
annoying when using the gimp (well, at least it is annoying me for a
long time, because one doesn't really have to look for artistic fonts
when simply writing a letter or something with a word processor).
About justification and writing direction: I've used some Asian fonts in
one of my last gimp works... and then I couldn't believe that this seems
to be a problem, too. I'm still thinking it is my fault not finding the
options for it :) (perhaps it's some localization specific setting or
something) ... Where can I set the writing direction (from right to
left, left to right, top to bottom, bottom to top, etc.)?? and what
would justification like left justified mean for a box that has a
writing direction from top to bottom?
Ok, but now more to the Western font problems. The so-called "tracking"
is implemented with the letter-spacing mechanism. There is, however, no
option to disable/enable the so-called "kerning" of a font. It's not
always desirable to have kerning enabled, and at the moment I helped
myself in just using tracking for this, although it's definitely NOT
giving the exact result I wanted to have. So another option for
enabling/disabling kerning of a font would be nice, too. And I don't
know, perhaps FreeType has an auto-kerning mechanism, too, like they
have for hinting (the auto-hinter).
Another really nice feature would be, if one could activate ligature
substitutions! So if I type the German words "finden" or "fliegen" the
ligatures "fi" and "fl" would automatically be substituted with the
appropriate unicode sign for these ligatures. Another good example is
always the "ff" ligature... like in the German word "hoffen". I don't
like the idea that ligatures are always substituted because sometimes
the ligature signs don't have hinting information (and then one would be
forced to use FreeType's autohinter) and furthermore it is not always
desirable to get the ligatures substituted (because you don't like them
or what ever).
Another thing. If one changes the font size, it would be desirable to
have the immediate informations about the "cap height", the "ascent",
the "descent", the "x-height" and the "accent height" for the font
according to the font size. These are no informations which can be
changed (of course), but sometimes I'd like to have the possibility to
see the effective x-height for a font with 10 pixels, because perhaps I
want to have an x-height of 6 pixels and I don't really care about the
real font size anyway.
For the PDB api, it would be necessary to do some additional functions
which calculate the extents of the text (with all options possibly to be
enabled/disabled which could change the extents), the extents of the
whole text-box (text-layer in fact), and perhaps some functions which
could calculate positions: starting position, which can be different
from the text-box position, and the position at every offset in the
text... for example one could get the position of the second word in
"Der Übergang", add to it the "cap height" of the font, and one would
get the position directly above the "U" and underneath the accent.
So far my comments on the current text tool.
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