Friday, May 27, 2005

What Should FOG 5 Be?

Dear All,

'twas a "tremenjous" response we got out of the last posting...

Assuming that few, if any, newbies will ever find their way here... I thought we might zero in on what the actual specs of FOG 5 could be.

Please reply this way in order not to wander:

Here are my 5 "must haves" for FOG 5 - keep it short and to the point.

This is called a "bubble sort" -we can take all the comments form the last posting and melt them down and then contrast and compare them until -lo' and behold- the hottest items will float to the top.

With that in mind (and based on 10 years of hearing what the masses want) I will start the process with my best shot.

JG's TOP 5 "Must haves"
1. Modern encoding support (such as CE encoding which is very hot right now)

2. Slam-dunk family creation -including large fams on PC.

3. 2000% zoom was spec'd in FOG 5 alpha at Macromedia. Revealed twisted BCPs which have been the root of many unknown problems. Obviously something wrong with FOG path direction switching.

4. Slam-dunk embedding for Acrobat. Mostly broken due to a bug in code at the moment. Since newbies try to use embedding in FOG every single day then it should be drop-dead easy to do rather requiring knowledge of the TTF spec.

5. Built-in conversion of Mac binary fonts to be opened in FOG. Currently requires a bit stripper.

(Font Preview was heavily requested but seems of minimal value to me since you'll never see the effects of hinting in a preview-what do ya'll think?)

Okey-dokey ---we've kicked the tires now it's time to be concise and diplomatic. The list has 5 items for a reason. If this is going to get done we've all got to be realistic and not gorge ourselves with all the pent-up emotion due to our long history of waiting for this moment.

The time is now! Let's be professional about it. Spec it tightly and realistically and get it done!

Jimmy G.
Der FontMeister

Friday, May 13, 2005

Fontographer Reborn!

The Fog Blog - Check out the latest news on Fontographer in Publish Magazine!!!

Der FontMeister has a new life!

If that name doesn’t ring a bell… I'm the friendly guy who answered Fontographer calls and emails at Macromedia for ten years. I have been given a gift for making hard things easier to grasp and I enjoy doing it.

I’m writing to announce the formation of a new concept in tech support –going the second and third mile!

A new company called Support and More has been founded and our goal is to offer tech support, consulting and training in a way you’ve never seen it before.

So now that we've got the introductions out of the way let me address the first question that Fontographer customers are going to ask:

"What is Fontographer (nicknamed FOG)?"

In 1986, Jim von Ehr founded Altsys and released Fontographer. It was the world's first digital PC font editor. It became an instant success as folks found that they could design their own alphabets, logos, signatures, etc. and turn them into fonts. Jim sold the company to Macromedia in 1995.

Here’s a short list of what you can do with FOG:

· create Type 1, Type 3, Truetype and some Unix formats
· font-conversions from Mac to PC, PC to Mac
· create screen fonts
· add your company logo or signature to a font
· create a dingbat font or scan your handwriting or anything else into a font
· add a Euro other special character
· create Unicode fonts for international keyboards

"What is the future of FOG?"

2. Macromedia was repositioning itself as a web tools organization and it became evident that any product which did not directly impact Macromedia's mission statement was going to be put on hold. Therefore, Fontographer has not been updated since 1996.

Last week, FontLab Ltd. took over the development of Fontographer. They invited me to be a part of this exciting team of creative genuises! I will be working with them closely as we explore the best ways to approach a new release of Fontographer. More details as available...

Suffice it to say that Macromedia couldn't have picked a better group to hand off the legacy of Fontographer to. The engineers at FontLab are legendary for their commitment to their customers. I have heard of all-night sessions wherein something was improved just because a "little old customer" expressed a need. That's somethingI haven't heard of since my early days in the 1980s!!!

“What about other font editors?”

Various followings have developed:

Robofog is a several hundred dollar annual subscription product which is an OEM version of Fontographer 3.5. It is targeted at expert level font developers.

FontLab has emerged as an alternative to Fontographer by providing Delta hinting, expanded Unicode support and Opentype support.

Mircrosoft and Adobe have offered various font utilities and SDKs to bridge the gap between the old font technology and the new.

Loyal Fontographer users have continued to use the product either because it does what they need or to prepare a font for post-processing in another editor.

Wise developers have availed themselves of all the tools available -including the ancient Fontographer because they have to get their work done.

What I'm all about is playing the cards that have been dealt to me. This blog will be about where we go from here.

You can help by telling me what you need in a font editor and what you would be willing to pay for it. I'm eager to hear from you as to what direction we should go. More later.

Jimmy G.
Der FontMeister