Dr. Ben Martin
Font design involves using at least two applications in unison, a font editor and a page layout application: to draw letters, and to read them. Real time collaboration features have been added to the libre font editor FontForge, and we now need corresponding features in libre graphics applications. This Interactivos workshop aims to address this need with two goals: to implement support in libre graphics applications for live fonts, and in addition, to draft a spec for the future of font collaboration.
Real time collaboration has been implemented for FontForge using the zeroMQ library. zmq was initially developed for financial service corporations who must share a lot of data to a lot of people very fast, such as in stock trading systems. It provides concurrency by passing information as messages rather than a true shared state. The current network protocol for sharing font data in FontForge could become more like an interchange file format, to open up the possibility for specialised font editor tools that are focused on only some particular aspects of type design.
For example, a program for kerning with a tactile UI does not need to understand anything about altering the shapes of glyphs, but can still be part of the process.
I dove into the network protocol that currently powers collaboration in FontForge, and set out my agenda for the Interactivos workshop.