Re: [Gimp-developer] opentype ui (gimp-developer-list Digest, Vol 105, Issue 13)

On Sun, 2020-06-21 at 12:23 -0700, Jim DeLaHunt wrote:
On 2020-06-20 09:27, Liam R E Quin wrote:
What do you think?


. Based on that, I have a few thoughts.

If you are thinking about giving Gimp users the ability to take 
advantage of the capabilities of OpenType fonts and their features, 
that's wonderful, but it's also a major UI design challenge. 

Note that GIMP already uses OpenType fonts (via Pango, which in turn
uses HarfBuzz) which includes the use of common ligatures and kerning.

But GIMP does not give access to features such as stylistic sets,
swash, native small caps, historical ligatures, and alternate glyphs.

We're asked most often for access to alternate glyphs and that's why i
started looking there, although controlling other ot features is for
sure a goal.

HarfBuzz doesn't support direct access to alternate glyphs, but the
development branch now does. Pango does have support for requesting
them, as well as for controlling other OpenType features.

Based on those stories, you can decide whether the right UI is to
on features and let the text rendering pick the glyphs, or to give
a big palette of glyphs and let them choose, or some combination of
the two.

People buy (or download fere) fonts for graphic design work that
contain scads of variant glyphs. Sometimes these are available in the
private use area ("PUA-encoded") and sometimes via OpenType tables and
sometimes both. Actually and sometimes neither but then you're hosed :)

In general, good results from OpenType requires a cooperative text 
layout engine that has language- and script-specific rules.
That's Pango's job and we have that.

In looking for examples and inspiration for user interaction design,
I  would nominate Adobe Indesign as probably the best design for
empowering users to get good typography results from OpenType.

It's interesting to hear, athough we have to be careful not to copy a
proprietary interface too closely.

I kept goals out of my email partly because open source is often about
"scratching an itch" at least at first, and partly to hear from others,
inclding yourself of course.



Liam Quin - web slave for
Typographer, programmer, writer, analyst, teacher,
full-time slave in voluntary servitude

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