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Feature Request: Different Font #66

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Diablo-D3 opened this Issue Sep 7, 2012 · 6 comments

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Diablo-D3 commented Sep 7, 2012

You offer "Lucida Grande, sans serif" for the sans font, but why not also Open Sans? Open Sans is a great readable font which Google uses for their desktop, website, and print font, pairing it with Droid Sans which is just a skinnier version of Open Sans.

Why force a typeface? I for one would like to have the option to configure separate typefaces for Newsblur's UI and the articles (e.g. Helvetica Neue Light for the UI and Hoefler Text for the articles).
Also if Google uses Open Sans for all of their apps, Newsblur shouldn't use it at all, it will have the effect of Newsblur looking like a Google product. Furthermore Lucida Grande is designed to be used as a display font which is ideal for Newsblur, also because it's the UI font of Mac OS X, Newsblur works very well as desktop app.

Contributor

Diablo-D3 commented Sep 17, 2012

You don't understand web development then: unless you just specify the fallback name sans, you're choosing a font. This usually means some plain Helvetica or Arial (which, although screen readable, it is a poor Helvetica clone). Helvetica Neue is great on OSX, but no other OS has it. Lucida Grande is also another OSX only font, but not only is it OSX only, Freetype renders it pretty badly (so no Linux, etc); Lucida Grande is also inferior to Helvetica Neue for a neutral sans web font (although, yes, its a good system UI font).

A LOT of websites use either an Arial/Helvetical stack (bad bad bad bad, never name Arial in your stack), a Helvetica Neue/Helvetica stack, or an Open Sans or Lato stack. A lot of sites you use every day that that aren't Google use one of those two, and you probably don't even realize it.

tl;dr:

If you want Open Sans, use the custom CSS feature

Details

Actually, I understand Web development very well. I just don't see the point in offering Open Sans. Especially if platforms other than OS X render a fall back any way. Open Sans it self is other than being free, not a good font, aesthetically speaking.
And your argument that "a lot of sites use it" is an extremely weak one at best. Especially, if a font is over-used (which all those 'open' typefaces are) it becomes boring and undifferentiated. Also I do recognize this, as I am a font-nerdy person.

Much more importantly, we need to differentiate between Newsblur the product, aka what everyone uses, and Newsblur the open source project (which, I speculate, most of Newsblur's users don't care about). The product should aspire to create a unique and instantly recognizable design – a brand – whereas the repository should provide a default configuration which WORKS.

So in order to improve the branding, Newsblur should use a "real" font, i.e. one designed by a professional type foundry (please consult typekit.com and font.com for what real typefaces look like). Conveniently, Helvetica Neue is licensable from font.com which would provide a high-quality typeface to every platform.

The repository, i.e. the source code, doesn't need to provide a font at all, as this has nothing to to with functionality but product design. So the source should provide a configuration mechanism (either plain CSS or a user-configurable system with specific typefaces for specific features).
Option 1 requires no changes at all (i.e. awesome),
Option 2 requires significant code changes (unnecessary in light of other much more needed features)

In the end you could always use some custome CSS (which Newsblur allows) to choose a font of your liking, or even better develop a patch. Just don't force Open Sans, Lato, Ubuntu or whatever free, open-source font on all of use.
I for believe that in not doing that Samuel provide much more taste than you do.

BTW:

The fact that Lucida Grande doesn't look as nice on Linux as on Mac OS X is explained very quickly:

  1. Lucida Grande was especially designed for Apple essentially becoming part of the Mac OS X design language.
  2. Apple spend a tremendous amount of time writing special code for its Apple Type Service (now CoreText) in order to render Lucida Grande the best way technically possible
  3. Sub-pixel Anti-Aliasing is not very well written on Linux, causing most fonts reliant on it (hello Lucida Grande) to be poorly drawn
Owner

samuelclay commented Sep 17, 2012

Go ahead and submit a Pull Request adding in the font choice to reader.css.

Owner

samuelclay commented Sep 17, 2012

Don't forget to reference this issue # so it'll get appended to this discussion.

Contributor

Diablo-D3 commented Sep 17, 2012

Open Sans was designed for Google by Steve Matteson from Ascender. Steve is a well respected professional typeface designer, and has either designer or helped design many major on and off screen technology related fonts. Droid Sans, by the way, was also designed by Steve, and is essentially a half-condensed version of Open Sans tuned for even smaller font sizes.

The reason I recommended Open Sans is because it is unambiguous at small font sizes and renders extremely well at any font size, and also does not require sub-pixel rendering to remain legiable (unlike Helvetica Neue).

Sub-pixel anti-aliasing works very well on Linux, although some people do not have their systems set correctly due to legacy reasons. Freetype can render bytecode hinting contained in fonts fine, but Lucida Grande's hinting does not seem to comply with the specification.

Freetype had originally disabled the bytecode hinter by default because of patents held by Apple, so this would be not the first time Apple's policies, actions, and products have been incompatible with FOSS code.

As for fallback fonts... none are needed. All major browsers support CSS font faces and have done so for quite some time, and Google hosts a repository of fonts ready to be used on the web.

The font of the content displayed should be easy to read and accessible. I never said force a font on users, but just allow it as a preset option. Newsblur, the product, and I assume Newsblur, the open source project, both have the user preference for font stacks, my experience is with the product alone.

@samuelclay samuelclay added a commit that referenced this issue Jan 7, 2013

@samuelclay samuelclay Closing #66 with both integration of #68 and using the same fonts. Us…
…ers can add an optional class if they want these other convenient fonts. Also using a few fonts as backups for non-Mac users.
1117997

@samuelclay samuelclay closed this Jan 7, 2013

@samuelclay samuelclay added a commit that referenced this issue Jan 7, 2013

@samuelclay samuelclay Merge branch 'master' into original_pages_node
* master: (81 commits)
  Adding font size choices to web preferences.
  Closing #66 with both integration of #68 and using the same fonts. Users can add an optional class if they want these other convenient fonts. Also using a few fonts as backups for non-Mac users.
  Fix default theming hook
  Add multiple targeted font stacks
  Fixing #75: shared stories should use story permalink, not story guid. Doh. Thanks @denubis!
  Categorizing preferences. Adding window title count back in.
  Adding email lookup to forgot password flow.
  Adding email lookup to forgot password flow.
  Fixing typo in logging.
  Fixing autocomplete behavior on add dialog.
  Adding broken search for feeds.
  Logging
  Switching to guid-based read story counts from range based counts. Let's see what this screws up.
  Everybody gets unread count in title.
  Backporting collections.Counter to python2.6
  Fixing broken reply interaction with links.
  Prototype of a dupe checker using real-time update times to figure out which feeds are the same. Last time I walked down this road I got run over.
  Adding delete user flow. About time, since I'm sick of doing this myself.
  Deractivating premiums.
  Adding a lock for the intelligence slider for focus stories. If the user selects focus and there are actually focus stories, lock it for the future when there are no unread focus stories.
  ...

Conflicts:
	fabfile.py
a90518f

@samuelclay samuelclay added a commit that referenced this issue Jan 9, 2013

@samuelclay samuelclay Merge branch 'master' into circular
* master: (28 commits)
  Adding logging to photo uploading.
  Undoing some broken changes on reading.
  Adding avatar photo uploading.
  Moving bakc to Verdana for Windows font. Ugh, this has to be fixed somehow.
  Fixing deactivation of expired premiums.
  Forgot password flow. Holy crap, this took two years.
  Bumping up duplicate address length for feeds.
  Submitting v1.8 to iOS App Store.
  Fixing db firewall ports.
  Preparing original pages node server for launch.
  Adding font size choices to web preferences.
  Closing #66 with both integration of #68 and using the same fonts. Users can add an optional class if they want these other convenient fonts. Also using a few fonts as backups for non-Mac users.
  Fix default theming hook
  Add multiple targeted font stacks
  Fixing #75: shared stories should use story permalink, not story guid. Doh. Thanks @denubis!
  Categorizing preferences. Adding window title count back in.
  Adding email lookup to forgot password flow.
  Adding email lookup to forgot password flow.
  Removing unused original pages from S3 when stored on node server.
  Refactoring original page saving toa ccount for node server being down.
  ...
c172539
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