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Fonts & Encodings [Paperback]

by Yannis Haralambous, P Scott Horne
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 3, 2007 0596102429 978-0596102425

This reference is a fascinating and complete guide to using fonts and typography on the Web and across a variety of operating systems and application software. Fonts & Encodings shows you how to take full advantage of the incredible number of typographic options available, with advanced material that covers everything from designing glyphs to developing software that creates and processes fonts.

The era of ASCII characters on green screens is long gone, and industry leaders such as Apple, HP, IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle have adopted the Unicode Worldwide Character Standard. Yet, many software applications and web sites still use a host of standards, including PostScript, TrueType, TeX/Omega, SVG, Fontlab, FontForge, Metafont, Panose, and OpenType. This book explores each option in depth, and provides background behind the processes that comprise today's "digital space for writing":

  • Part I introduces Unicode, with a brief history of codes and encodings including ASCII. Learn about the morass of the data that accompanies each Unicode character, and how Unicode deals with normalization, the bidirectional algorithm, and the handling of East Asian characters.
  • Part II discusses font management, including installation, tools for activation/deactivation, and font choices for three different systems: Windows, the Mac OS, and the X Window System (Unix).
  • Part III deals with the technical use of fonts in two specific cases: the TeX typesetting system (and its successor, W, which the author co-developed) and web pages.
  • Part IV describes methods for classifying fonts: Vox, Alessandrini, and Panose-1, which is used by Windows and the CSS standard. Learn about existing tools for creating (or modifying) fonts, including FontLab and FontForge, and become familiar with OpenType properties and AAT fonts.
Nowhere else will you find the valuable technical information on fonts and typography that software developers, web developers, and graphic artists need to know to get typography and fonts to work properly.

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Fonts & Encodings + Unicode Explained + CJKV Information Processing: Chinese, Japanese, Korean & Vietnamese Computing
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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

From Advanced Typography to Unicode and Everything in Between

About the Author

Yannis Haralambous is the founder of Atelier Fluxus Virus, a company specializing in the high-quality typesetting of books with specific requirements, such as dictionaries and critical editions. Since 2001 he has taught computer science at ENST Bretagne, in Brest (Brittany, France).

Product Details

  • Paperback: 1040 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media (October 3, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596102429
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596102425
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 3.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,221,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Fonts & Encodings Reference October 26, 2007
'Fonts & Encodings' by Yannis Haralambous is about as complete a book as you will find on any computer topic, bar none. Rarely are expectations exceeded when it comes to anything in life, but this book goes way way way beyond what any other fonts/encodings book has done in the past. Packing 1000+ pages of content into this text, the author discusses all the relevant topics as hand, from history to font creation and specification to math involved in creating these typefaces we use every day... truly to infinity and beyond!!!

If you are a developer or user of fonts and want to learn more about the history of how difficult and non-trivial even the most basic characters were to get on your browser window, this book is for you. If you need this pertinent information and are in the business of creating fonts yourself, this book is for you. If you are just interested in the topic of one of the most basic computer technologies, this book is (you guessed it) for you!!!

With 14 chapters and 6 appendices, this book truly puts the U in Unicode and is a must read for anyone that wants to learn more about this exciting topic!!

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book lots of errors though January 19, 2008
By Dezcom
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a terrific book for the technically minded person either designing type or dealing with its use from a technology perspective. I read the English translation and found the writing good and informative. My problem is that there appear to be numerous typos particularly in the hundreds of code examples. This may only be in the translation since I have not seen the original French. I hope the publisher can give it a thorough proof reading!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lots of original information you can't find on the web October 7, 2007
This is a different kind of book from O'Reilly on the subject of fonts and their encoding. At first glance you'd think that this book is much like an old book on graphics formats published by O'Reilly eleven or so years ago. That book was useful until all of the formats became outmoded and just looking up the information on the web seemed like a much more efficient idea than lugging around the 1500 page tome that the second edition became. However, this book is in a different category from that one entirely. Besides dealing with fonts from the perspective of history and typesetting, the author talks about algorithms and writing software that can create and process fonts with plenty of concrete examples and illustrations. I've been working with image processing for a long time, and I've already found plenty of information on how to add some font-handling capabilities to my program that I couldn't find elsewhere. Plus this book has a very good tutorial on Unicode and where it came from. Highly recommended. The following is the table of contents:

1. Before Unicode 27
2. Characters, glyphs, bytes: An introduction to Unicode 53
3. Properties of Unicode characters 95
4. Normalization, bidirectionality, and East Asian characters 127
5. Using unicode 159
6. Font management on the Macintosh 187
7. Font management under Windows 209
8. Font management under X Windows 221
9. Fonts in TEX, their installation and use 235
10. Fonts and web pages 315
11. History and Classification of Latin Typefaces 367
12. Editing and Creating Fonts 442
13. Optimizing a rasterization 505
14. Enriching Fonts: Advanced Typography 549
Appendix A. Bitmap Font Formats 599
Appendix B. TEX Font Formats 623
Appendix C.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing short of a masterpiece. January 14, 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I ordered this book to help me with character encodings in our digital library files. That is fully covered, but there is so much more. Chapter 11 - History of Latin Fonts - is worth the price of the book. It makes sense that this book would be written by a European because of the great number of languages in Europe. I am very thankful that it was translated from French to English so I could have access!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Wonderful book!! December 13, 2007
'Fonts & Encodings' by Yannis Haralambous is one of the most complete books I've ever read on a single topic. But surprisingly and opossite to most computer-related books, this one is perhaps the most easy to understand.

This is not a book just for the web developer or the typesetter. Nor it is for the graphic designer or for the software programmer. This is also a book for everyone interested in how computers work, in how data is converted into a graphical interpretation readable by humans.

Being a graphic designer and publisher for 30 years and a web designer and programmer for the last 10, I really enjoyed the history section, which transported me to those days when personal computers did not even exist and typography had to be hand-made as well as its continuous evolution to get the state as we know it now: Fonts & Encodings.

The way this book is structured make the novice readers find the subject of interest without having to go into the complicated technical stuff, while making the techs and versed find and easily understand the most complicated issues regarding the topic.

Special credits to P. Scott Horne for a so brilliant translation. Those who speak several languages will agree with me on how difficult is to translate a book mostly technical without getting lost in translation.

Daniel Ajzen "WEBstationONE" (San Diego, CA, USA)
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