September 22, 2003
Most developers spend a huge amount of time looking at code. Obviously, the quality of your VDU is very important, but it's also important to use a good font.
Obviously, you're going to use a non-proportional font for coding. As a Windows
victim user, you get a couple by default. Courier New is just too hideous to contemplate. Lucida Console is better, but both these fonts have one big defect in common - it's hard to distinguish between zeros and upper case letter 'o's. Me, I prefer Andale Mono. (You can download Andale Mono here.)
Ned Batchelder points out Tristan Grimmer's programming fonts. Proggy Clean especially looks really nice for day to day code and text editing. Proggy Tiny, is, well, a bit too tiny for editing with, but it might make a good console font. I'll give them a try.
Update: I've had a look, and I think I'll be sticking with Andale for the moment, though Proggy Clean is almost as nice - it just takes up that tiny bit more room. Some samples: Andale Mono, Proggy Clean, and (for Hans) FixedSys.
(BTW, this code snippet arose because a colleague was struggling using a text editor to open a 1.2 gig log file in order to find all the lines containing a specific exception. A slight variation on this code pulled out the required lines, and took 13 minutes on an oldish PC. Another Python convert, I hope!)
Posted to Software development by Simon Brunning at September 22, 2003 10:37 AM
Another update: V S Babu mentions Bitstream Vera in passing. There's a non-proportional font in there which looks pretty nice. An example - Bitstream Vera Sans Mono. But again, I think I'll stick with Andale.
Know any that show up my coding errors in red? :)
Cool fontage Mr B. To enable this in the only editor worth having, append the following line to your .vimrc (or _vimrc on Windows);
I'm sure there is a pointy-clicky way to do this in Eclipse, but frankly its a crutch ;-)
Thanks for this blog entry Simon. Do let us know the final result of your experimentation; I will follow your lead.
Hmm, what about the FixedSys font?
Hmmm, yes, grep's good. But to be honest, Python is always the first tool I reach for these days.
Besides, in the end we extended it to chop a couple of details out of the matching lines, and to output a CSV file ready to importing into Excel and drawing pretty graphs with. All pretty trivial in Python.
I often find that it's best to use the most flexible tool in the first instance. Even if the initial requirement is simple enough to use a simple tool, you usually end up needing something a bit more complex.
I quite like neep-alt-14. Proggy seems a little
small for my taste (or perhaps my monitor).
Can't find neep anywhere.
The HVRASTER font is the best bitmap nonproportional Programmer editor font out there. Comes in all sorts of sizes. I use it in Delphi and Vis Studio and all sorts of editors. Got it from Brothersoft.com site.
"Obviously, you're going to use a non-proportional font for coding"
Java reads better with a proportional font - I use Lucida Sans Unicode in Eclipse when editing. The days of banner comments and aligning variable assignments in columns are gone. Any autoformatter worth its salt will produce extremely readable code, more so in a clean sans serif proportional font.
Hmmm, a *proportional* font for programming, eh? I'm not convinced, but I may give it a go.