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Revisiting Programming Fonts


#1

I've experimented with programming fonts and IDE color schemes plenty in the past. But now that I've given in to the inevitability of ClearType on large LCDs, I've basically settled on Consolas. It's hard to beat Consolas. It's darn close to the ultimate monospace programming font in my estimation. That's why I was so intrigued when I read about Inconsolata, a non-denominational OpenType relative of Consolas, which unlike Consolas, works equally well with ClearType enabled or disabled.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2007/10/revisiting-programming-fonts.html

#2

So does anyone at MS read this blog?

Why the F#* does SQL Enterprise Manager (and even some parts of SQL Server Management Studio) have PROPORTIONAL fonts in their query editors (ever tried to edit SQL in DTS?)

Urge to kill… Rising…


#3

I tried monoco and inconsolata for a while but innevitably went back to consolas. ms won me over with that font.


#4

vera sans mono. Best across applications and across platforms.


#5

I’m a big fan of ProFont. http://www.tobias-jung.de/seekingprofont/index.html


#6

I’ve stuck with Monaco 10pt, with black background. It’s been my environment of choice for more than a year now, no complaints.

And it’s been a success: my colleagues copied my scheme, setting by setting!


#7

I’m a big Consolas fan myself, but of the screenshots above I think I like Courier New second best. I’m not sure why so many people hate it so much.

Lucida Typewriter is an old fave, too.


#8

@David
You can change the font in most of those places (editing SPs and DTS) by right-clicking and selecting “Font…” from the contextual menu. The choices have persisted for me.


#9

I gave it a try, it is definitely nice looking but there is too much space between the lines for my taste. I use 9pt and it still looks good but moving to 8pt to try to get more to fit on the screen makes it hard to read.

I still have to stick with ProFontWindows 9pt. Easy to read and compared to Consolas 9pt you gain about 10 rows and 25 columns on a Dell 24" monitor. Plus it has the slash through the zero which I love!

— Ken


#10

I’m a Textmate guy, but I wasn’t a big fan of Monaco either. I did a bit of searching and discovered DejaVu, an open source font:

http://dejavu.sourceforge.net/wiki/index.php/Main_Page


#11

I love Monaco and use it all the time… but I find it ugly in your photo. Looks a lot nicer on the Mac.

Also a lot smaller at 12pt – what resolution screen are you using?


#12

Consolas looks promising. Let’s see how this works out in Notepad++ and dev-c++.


#13

I’ve been using “crisp” from proggyfonts for over a year now. That, combined with a black background have made everything much easier on the eyes. It kills me to go to someone elses desk to look over something with them.


#14

Consolas is nice, but I still prefer ProFontWindows.


#15

I’m a big fan of ProFont.
I’ve been using “crisp” from proggyfonts for over a year now.

This comparison is for scalable fonts with aliasing. You’re referring to per-pixel bitmap fonts. Different animals entirely. Refer to my old programming fonts post where I compare non-aliased bitmap fonts:

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000157.html

Of all the per-pixel, fixed size bitmap fonts, I think Dina is the best.

http://www.donationcoder.com/Software/Jibz/Dina/


#16

Monaco looks like hell with crazy windows font rendering, agreed. You wouldn’t even recognize it on the Mac. I use Monaco at 13pt and it’s far shorter than your posted shot. I’ll second the question, what screen resolution is that!?

Vera Sans Mono on anything but OSX for me.


#17

Maybe I’m simply too young to get it (having missed most of the years of 80-column displays), but I really don’t understand why so many developers seem to prefer fixed-width fonts, anyway. Numerous studies have shown that proportional fonts are easier on the eye and easier to read; once you get used to it, this applies to code as well.

If you’ve never tried it before, I highly recommend that you try a proportional font for a couple of weeks. Most of the guys at my office use Verdana, while I prefer Calibri.


#18

That, combined with a black background have made everything much easier on the eyes

Light vs dark is a preference, but it’s the reduction in contrast that specifically helps readability and reduces eyestrain (a href="http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000340.html"http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000340.html/a). Never use pure black or white backgrounds if you can help it.

Monaco looks like hell with crazy windows font rendering, agreed. You wouldn’t even recognize it on the Mac

It’s true that OS X and Windows have very different font rendering strategies, so screenshots cannot be directly compared (a href="http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000884.html"http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000884.html/a).


#19

I agree with Pete. The Monaco font on Windows looks different (at least the version I have does). It’s too big and skinny. On the mac it’s way smoother and natural.
Still, my Windows code editors are all on Consolas. I love the fact that Consolas bold has the same width as the normal style. Try that with Courier New :slight_smile:


#20

Courier New for the win!

@David: I’ll have to try a proportional font sometime in the future, see what difference it makes.

I have one problem with proportional fonts - my tabs look squashed (I like having lots of whitespace).