[Pharo-dev] default monospaced code font

Esteban Lorenzano estebanlm at gmail.com
Tue Oct 15 07:29:13 EDT 2013

well... fonts and UX  in general are two different (yet related) issues. 

UX is a huge an complicated task, and has to be taken very seriously if we want to succeed. To allow the appropriate/productive/happy flows in an environment requires a lot of effort and to put all the pieces together. 
Yes, I know, that sounds so general that is like not saying anything :)
Here is the concrete: Put all the UX pieces together requires a lot of effort usually not taken into account. That's how the UX evolved more or less the same way as morphic: a patch over a patch without much thinking about the issue, just takign what is there and parching/extending as needed. As morphic, the current UX in pharo is broken: there is no coherence between tools and sometimes even inside the same tool (for example nautilus has different behavior inside the code panel than in the list panels on top). 
This is not the fault of any tool, just a consequence of how evolution was managed until now. 
So, we wanted a better UX for Pharo3 that included: a new Theme, new Icon set, and new tools that worked well together. But task demonstrated to be a hard to beat beast, and we just moved forward in small areas (there is for example a new centralized menu coming along with a new spotlight). 
And there is a prototype of a new theme and also some icons that where thought specially and that will fit nicely.  But they will not be ready this year and after thinking a while (and getting feedback of people in community), we decided, for Pharo3:

- adopt the glamour theme. This is a step forward our current one because glamour guys (specially Doru) continued working on it to have a really clean and simple theme. 
- adopt the EclipsePack theme because is an iconset specially thought for programming that plays very well together. No matter if you do not like Eclipse (even if I think you are missing the relevance of Eclipse and a lot of good ideas that we could take from them), is about creating a unified vision. The old icon set (famfam) was not intended for programming environment and also there were a lot of different icons incorporated anarchically. 
- adopt a monospaced font for coding (right now Source Code Pro) and a non-monospaced for the rest (right now Open Sans). 

The objective is to offer a L&F that where visual elements plays well together. 
And there is another more important (IMHO) objective: to offer newcomers an environment easier to approach. Pharo (and all Smalltalk-inspired environments)  is already very alien for newcomers. We get a lot of power in exchange of that alienish stuff, but very often the curve of learning or acceptance is too high and people that could step closer to us are pushed away. So, my idea is to keep been as alien as possible in the things that make us Pharo and be the less alien possible in the rest: A nice L&F that can be feel as "some kind" familiar, is part of it. 

Said so... well you still can switch back to the old and ugly (IMO) L&F executing some lines of code in your workspace. 

Same to fonts: monospaced fonts is the worldwide accepted  way of present source code. Why should we stay different? 

In any case, please give it a chance before drop it (once I can actually see why the fonts are not really applied) and we'll see how it works. 


On Oct 15, 2013, at 12:18 PM, Sven Van Caekenberghe <sven at stfx.eu> wrote:

> On 15 Oct 2013, at 08:30, Pavel Krivanek <pavel.krivanek at gmail.com> wrote:
>> the issue that sets the new Pharo 3.0 look&feel uses a monospaced font
>> for the code. It is only a coincidence that it is not set this way in
>> the prebuild Pharo image.
>> I have big doubts if this is the way to go. I think that proportional
>> fonts are more natural for Smalltalk and without them the code is
>> harder to read and not so beauty. I think that something like elastic
>> tabstops would be much better solution.
>> http://tibleiz.net/code-browser/elastic-tabstops.html
> Yeah, I can't imagine many Smalltalkers liking a mono-spaced font, I personally hate it.
>> On the other way, it is only my personal opinion and if you think that
>> the Eclipse-like look will attract more new users...
> I don't like Eclipse ;-) But like Marcus says, it is just a different icon set. We want win any points on originality or personality though, which is a missed opportunity.

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