Generating composites on export?

Is it possible to generate glyphs on export? I have only seen an option to remove glyphs.

Maybe this should be a feature to add? I am imagining a list of glyph names as a custom parameter. These would be generated by the same mechanism as the “Add Glyphs” command.

I think this would help us keep the source file nice and neat.

What glyphs would you like to add?

I would like to add everything that does not manual tweaking after automatic generation. In practice, that mostly means accented characters but it could be others like the soft hyphen, non-breaking space. One could even think about things like automatically generated case-sensitive punctuation (as a copy of the regular glyph, then automatically shifted so that the middle point has a specified height). But composites would be the most interesting thing to start with.

Not even including these glyphs in the source feels cleaner to me, then I know that all glyphs I am seeing are in some way “designed” by me and possibly need manual checking, whereas other glyphs could be set-up-and-forget, without requiring any human input, therefore not even visible to me.

Very interesting idea.

Only one problem: how do you make a kerning exception for Tä after you have group-kerned Ta?

And most importantly, how you add the kerning classes?

Hmmm… good questions. For automatically generated composites the kerning classes could also be generated automatically very well so the only problem would be the exceptions.

Kerning exceptions are probably one of the last steps in the design/production process of a font. So, this feature would be useful for most of the design process and only in the end, when exceptions are defined, one would switch to generating the glyphs explicitly (or, indeed, only those that need exceptions).

Or, a setting in the preferences like “Hide all automatically generated glyphs in the Font tab”. Glyphs can determine which glyphs do not require manual edits (or even: cannot be edited manually) and hide them accordingly. The glyphs would be present in the font (and can be typed in the edit tabs, and of course, one could define kerning exceptions for them.

Or, gray them out (in a way that is not confused with the empty glyphs, of course) in the font tab.

In a way, you can already do the hiding with well set-up filters in the Font tab.

Also, and more difficult, what about glyphs like /Lslash and /oslash which may need sidebearing adjustments, or the Vietnamese horn letters. Or things like the barred H/h and T/t. It’s next to impossible to fully automate these. Also, in many designs, many ogonek letters need adjusted ogoneks. You will always run into some sort of trouble with some glyphs, at least in a significant number of designs.

While the idea is very, very tempting (reminds me a bit of the -adds option for makeotf), there are a few stupid problems. And whatever we come up with as a solution, we need to also think about the challenges for a new user. The concept of the glyph that is not there and, at the same time, is in the font, may turn out to be pretty confusing.

Sure, some accented characters are impossible to generate fully automatically but I was not talking about these. I was referring to glyphs you can generate automatically. The designer will know and decide which ones they are.

but if they do not exist before output, how do they get into kerning classes?