Creating OTF with Java

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Marc van Dongen's picture
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Joined: 4 Jun 2011 - 1:35am
Creating OTF with Java
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Dear all,

I'd like to create an OpenType font. I know there are some programs to do this, but I'd like to do it the hard way:-) Moreover, I'd like a student to work on this as part of a project.

I'd appreciate any pointers to find information about OpenType font files and how to generate them. Ideally, I'd like to create the font files using some Java library. If there's any Java library that you can recommend then please let me know.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Theunis de Jong's picture
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Joined: 22 Apr 2008 - 5:06pm
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Using Javascript (which is not Java), I created IndyFont. It uses outlines the user draws with InDesign, so I didn't have to write a font drawing program. The script gathers outlines, converts them into Type 1 instructions, adds a OTF wrapper around it and dumps it into a file.

I already had extensive experience with the Type 1 font format, the OTF part came from Microsoft's Typography site.

That's all you need to get started -- well, that and ~3 months of continuous (nights only) work. It took me that long to write something to export an InDesign-drawn rectangle as a working font. YMMV.

Ideally, I'd like to create the font files using some Java library.

That's not really "the hard way" is it?

Marc van Dongen's picture
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Joined: 4 Jun 2011 - 1:35am
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Thanks for the info. I'll have a look.

That's not really ``the hard way'' is it?

Perhaps I should have explained better. I want to do the design part in Java as well, writing the software from scratch. I was hoping there was some library that let me export all information to the font file. Even if there's a library that lets me export some glyphs and meta-information to the font file, that would be quite some work.

Bob Hallissy's picture
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Joined: 23 Mar 2012 - 9:09am
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Have you looked at Google's open source sfntly project?

Marc van Dongen's picture
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Joined: 4 Jun 2011 - 1:35am
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Thanks Bob. At first sight, that's exactly the sort of thing that I'm looking for.