Stringmaker (simple online tool to generate test strings)

nina's picture

Hello Typophiles,
I took a bit of time over the weekend to expand a couple of PHP scripts I made for my own development into a little online tool that might be useful to some:

Stringmaker is a simple online tool which can be used to quickly generate test strings of the following patterns:
nnnannn
nnnaxnnn
nnnaxannn
… which can be useful for spacing and kerning. The idea is to let the tool generate basic strings which can then be copy-pasted to InDesign or something and formatted as needed to test type designs in progress.

For the variables "a" and "x" above you can choose between lowercase, uppercase, numerals, punctuation, or alternately input custom (wordspace-delimited) lists of characters. Like maybe "f"s and i-diacritics, or even non-Latin characters. There is a live pattern preview that should let you see what you're doing (requires JavaScript).

I'm hoping that some of you find this useful, and if you think there's any fixes that would make it more so please let me know. I'm happy for feedback – it's all still very beta, and I'm really not all that much of a developer, so if something's broken please let me know.

Cheers,
Nina

Frode Bo Helland's picture

Cool. Having to reclick the questionmark to hide the help box is a bit cumbersome.

rolandstieger's picture

Wow, great, thanks a lot!!!

nina's picture

I'm glad if it's helpful!
Frode: Updated – now clicking anywhere in the help window itself (or the question mark) hides the help.

nina's picture

Updated by popular request (over on Facebook) to allow for custom base/fill characters, and not just single ones but 2-character combinations too.

Also, Craig has pointed to this alternate site that does something similar:
http://www.gestaltungssache.at/buchstaben.php?gen=1
… which I didn't previously know about.

Edit: Is there a common sentiment that allowing for fill strings of arbitrary length (>2) would be useful/wanted?

eliason's picture

This might be a good place to ask about other useful online string generators. Besides the Gestaltungssache site just mentioned, I know of and use these:

- Just Another Foundry's: http://justanotherfoundry.com/generator
- Miguel Sousa's Adhesiontext: http://www.adhesiontext.com/

Others?

Bendy's picture

Not a text generator but a useful set of kern test words: Leslie Cabarga's Kern King

JanekZ's picture

Nina, does it work properly with Polish characters?


I was expecting nnęnnćnnżnnźnn...

nina's picture

Should absolutely work, Janek – at the moment you just need to insert spaces between your input characters (maybe I should get rid of that requirement? Dunno)

JanekZ's picture

Excellent! Thank you very much. Super tool :)

Bendy's picture

Just thinking aloud: one difficulty of having to include a space between each input character might be that it won't allow output strings to show how the wordspace actually fits with other characters, which might be a helpful facility.

nina's picture

Hm. Yeah, right now the wordspace is stripped out of input strings. There IS however a wordspace (nonbreaking space, actually) included in the "punctuation" set (between the endash and the underscore); would that do?

Edit: An advantage of using a delimited list (be it by wordspace, or comma – I personally find wordspace more intuitive) is that it's possible to input multi-character entries, for instance HTML entities such as (drum roll) & nbsp ; (in one word) for a nonbreaking space. :-)

Bendy's picture

I see. That's probably good about the wordspace. Also it works fine in the custom_base field.

You know, if you wanted lots of extra work (yay!), you could have an HTML palette to input those &clunky; &HTML; &entities; &that; &I; &can; &never; &remember;

butterick's picture

http://mbtype.com/wordlist.php

Here's mine, though I wrote it before I discovered the Tim Ahrens generator, which is superior in many respects. Mine will generate longer lists, I think. It can also generate lists using Fontlab glyph suffixes (e.g., /H.sc /E.sc /L.sc /L.sc /O.sc)

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