[isabelle] New release, fonts



TL;DR: Never give a multiple-choice quiz where there's only one answer.

I partly agree with Peter and Eugene here (about the new fonts). I'm using
a QHD-wide "27 inch" display, and the new fonts look blurry, and also look
as if they're mostly bold; almost all text resembles the old bolded-keyword
look. Just to be sure it wasn't merely the display, I looked at the same
thing on my MacBook's 15" display --- same results.) The new bold keywords
are even more bold, but appear blurrier to me (and my eyesight isn't that
great -- for someone with clear vision, I'd expect this to be even more of
a problem). By contrast, the old ones look crisp (esp. for the material
within double-quotes). I far prefer them.

I did a screen grab of the two, side-by-side, and dropped it here:
https://imgur.com/a/3htvAfu; if you zoom in a bit and look at, for
instance, 'a, you'll see that the quote mark is far more blurry; look at
the "n" in "fun" and notice the blurry right-hand side. That certainly
explains what I was seeing/feeling. I love me some antialiasing, but ...
sometimes the results are unsatisfactory.

Is this a drop-dead issue for me the way it is for Eugene? Probably not.
But I think you should consider what Eugene and Peter say, not spend time
explaining why the technology is the way it is. (FYA, see
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEP7aEyTOf0, 0:34 - 0:55).

As for "old technology", if you go look for monitors on Amazon or similar
places, you'll find that most high-end screens are about 100 DPI which, for
displays at comparable distances, is really the relevant measure. My "27
inch" display (23 inches wide) is 2560 pixels; the top-rated UHD display on
Amazon is about 33 inches wide and 3340 pixels. (To be fair, also top-rated
is a 25 inch display with 3340 pixels -- about 5/4 the DPI of my display.)
So what Eugene is describing is hardly old-school in terms of actual size
of pixels-at-the-cornea (assuming that like most folks I know, Eugene has
the display about 24-30" inches away, and has had it that way through
multiple generations of resolution-improvement).

The sidekick is an interesting case; I can't figure out how to make the
font larger in I2018, so it's not a fair comparison, but with the default
install of I2019 on my Mac, the wide-bold does lead to some serious
ugliness. Look at the space between "*theory*" and "Seq": in the old
sidekick, it's clearly a blank space. In the new one, it's much narrower
and harder to recognize. It's also not clear why, among the main-text
panel, the upper sidekick panel, and the lower sidekick panel, this one
alone has a non-fixed-width font.

There's one place where I feel the new is a definite improvement on the
old: opening and closing parentheses. You can see this in the comment in
the first two lines. The old one looks threadbare, while the new appears
more like a uniform-thickness stroke.

If your chosen font/renderer makes things appear ugly to folks, and they
tell you so, then your pre-release testing is a *success*: you're getting
useful feedback (which is a precious resource). As someone with a bit of
experience in graphics and UIs, I'd advise you to not ignore or dismiss it
*if* you care about the graphics and UI. Feel free, of course, to ignore
me. I suspect that this is not your top concern in an otherwise very
impressive project.

--John



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