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Unicode programmer font

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For Consolas we shipped with Latin, Greek and Cyrillic. we're expanding this to cover extended Latin, Poly Greek and Extended Cyrillic in the next update. We want to avoid adding Hebrew, Arabic and Thai if we possibly can, but that's the general direction we'd be pulled in for all core fonts.

With respect to CJK, these are predominantly fixed-pitch to start with, so rather than add these to a monster font, I'd be inclined to add good developer-centric Latin, Greek and Cyrillic coverage to good CHS, CHT, Korean and Japanese base fonts.

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Nice to hear, that while I was curing my flu,
discussion continued and all controversial points have been cleared out.

Thank you Adam for your tips.
I have Consolas installed with Vista. Looks clear and nice, but the range is too small.
I’ve been testing some time ago Andale Mono WT J and WT S, but the same thing as above.

Ascender Uni is very promising.

maybe you’ll take a look at those glyphs for a reference?

Speaking of ranges: I’d like to have all Slavic, Cyrillic, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic, simplified and extended Chineese, Korean and Japanese, Unicode ligatures and typographic symbols.
That’s a lot of work to do…

Now I use open source editor named jEdit, written in Java, on both, Linux and Windows. It works great on Mac too. The only font which displayed all the characters I needed was DialogInput so far.


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  • 8 months later...

I realize this is a defunct discussion, but I feel compelled.

Defining coding as creating something that gets compiled into an executable is a rather narrow definition. As a computational linguist, I do things which I consider to be coding, but which do not get converted into executables per se. One of these things is to code finite state transducers for various human languages, using tools like the Xerox and Stuttgart Finite State Transducers (xfst and sfst respectively). I have also done coding in XML, where the XML is intended to be converted into the programming language of one of these FSTs. Once in awhile I've programmed things in Python (and co-workers have done so in Perl or even C) to modify the XML code for these FSTs or for dictionaries, and occasionally it's necessary to embed Unicode characters in these programs--not as strings to appear in dialog boxes or such like, but as parts of strings or regular expressions that the Python etc. code needs find in the XML and modify.

Apart from C, all these programming languages use interpreters.

The human languages we work with have included Bengali, Arabic and Urdu (Urdu uses the Arabic code range of Unicode). I wouldn't be surprised if we worked with other Indic languages in the future, and Ethiopic languages are not out of the question.

I regularly use jEdit or Visual Slickedit for writing these programs; some of my co-workers use emacs. We also use XMLmind, although that is mostly for DocBook-type XML, which I suppose you don't consider to be coding.

So I think I feel safe in calling what I and my co-workers do "coding", even though it does not always result in executables. Hard-coding literal strings is really the only option for these programs, especially for the FSTs where the whole point is to deal with dozens or even hundreds of such strings in the morphology and phonology of these languages. We certainly use programmers' editors, and at least jEdit does not "support user-definable fonts for each Unicode range". (I asked a couple months ago, and it's probably at the bottom of their priority list.)

Mike Maxwell

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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm amazed how many people here are saying that a unicode font is unnecessary for "coding."

Some of us out here actually have to deal with multiple languages IN CODE (not HTML) on a daily basis. For example, parsing Asian text using a regex. Or Asian developers who might actually comment their code in their native languages -- and on and on. Just because _you_ haven't had to deal with this stuff doesn't mean that others don't -- more than a billion of us, in fact.

FYI, I came here looking for a better-looking fixed-width unicode font for gvim because I often deal with source code that includes Japanese for various reasons.

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So then I suppose that if you wanted to you could take a coding font and merge it with a MS Japanese font ( you would want to scale the latin to match the Japanese I think... ) - as long as it didn't violate the EULA. If it did you might be able to look on the Adobe side of the aisle. Now I wish I knew more about rendering for Japanese. It strikes me that the adobe fonts are probably less screen and more print oriented.. Maybe that's wrong as well. But what about local makers. When I was in Japan in the late 80's there no shortage ( seemingly ) of Japanese fonts in a variety of styles and especially ones which were screen oriented. But maybe they are NEC specific or something. Then again I wasn't a font nut yet. Maybe they are not great... I look forward to hearing more about this from somebody with more of an insider's view. Perhaps increasing screen rez will also make the problem less acute as well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I stumbled on this discussion with much interest.

I'm currently trying to work with Jim Tauber's MorphGNT text file (a standard in Greek New Testament coding).

This file consists of all the words of the Greek New Testament, one per line, with the part of speech (noun/verb) and other grammatical info. At the end of the line, in polytonic Greek unicode characters, is the word, and the 'dictionary' form of that word.

I think he must be editing this file in Unix, because I can't find a unicode fixed width font that will display this file correctly on Windows. Courier New just gives square boxes against the characters that have accents over them.

Consolas doesn't do the job, sadly.

Is there any chance that it can be enhanced to support polytonic Greek characters?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Further to this, I posted about my experiences at my blog here. One of the comments suggested that a number of free fixed-width unicode fonts exist:

I was told:

I've not had a chance to try any of these, but any thoughts would be interesting.

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