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Fonts & Encodings--New from O'Reilly Media: The Inseparable Duo in the Digital Space for Writing

September 27, 2007

Sebastopol, CA--It's common knowledge that yin and yang symbolize opposition between certain objects. However, yin and yang are also inseparable, forever combined as a cornerstone in all universal processes. Similarly, fonts and encodings are also two opposing sides of a spectrum which, when working together, form an inseparable duo essential to digital writing.

In the exciting new book from O'Reilly--Fonts & Encodings ($59.99)--author Yannis Haralambous provides a fascinating, lyrical, and comprehensive guide to using fonts and typography on the Web and across a variety of operating systems and application softwares. "It is the goal of this book to be a bridge between tradition and new technologies, in the small (but important) domain of written text," explains Haralambous.

"An encoding emerges from the tendency to conceptualize information; it is the result of an abstraction, a construction of the mind," writes Haralambous in his timely new resource. "A font is a means of visually representing writing, the result of a concrete expression, a graphical construct."

At over 1000 pages, this encyclopedic reference is the only resource you need to take full advantage of the incredible number of typographic options available. Fonts & Encodings clearly presents 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. However, this only solves part of the problem, as a multitude of font standards and tools for using those standards remain between the numeric character codes and their presentation.

Fonts & Encodings explores and illuminates how each piece fits together:

  • Part I introduces Unicode, with a brief history of codes and encodings, including ASCII. You'll learn about 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, 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, Omega, which the author co-developed) and web pages.
  • Part IV presents the history of typefaces, and then examines 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.

Appendixes explain a variety of standards and tools in depth, exploring bitmap font formats, TeX formats, PostScript formats, TrueType/OpenType and AAT, including tutorials in TrueType instructions, Metafont language, and B zier curves.

Nowhere else will you find the valuable technical information that software developers, web developers, and graphic artists need to know to get typography and fonts to work properly--so keep it handy for quick references and thorough explanations.

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).

P. Scott Horne, who translated this book from French, is a former software developer with experience in localization and internationalization. He is also a typographer fluent in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, and Latin.

Fonts & Encodings
Yannis Haralambous
translated by P. Scott Horne
ISBN: 0-596-10242-9
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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