Having recently discovered the plethora of coding fonts available online, it occurred to me that quite a bit of thought has been put into something I have always seen as rather trivial. The more I read about it, the more I have come to realize that using a font specifically designed for software development can be extremely beneficial.
My first thought was, “what on earth could require so much thought?” As I continued my browsing, the all the pieces started to fall into place. Some of the things coding fonts specifically try to emphasize/improve upon include:
- Appropriately styled for typically used sizes (~8pt - 10pt)
- Smaller line-height (means seeing more lines of code at once)
- More readable symbols (esp. brackets, parenthesis, etc.)
- Designed to be monospaced from the ground up (full-width/centered characters, etc.)
- Reasonable tab sizing.
I’m sure there are plenty of others, but these are some of the things I found valuable right off the bat.
If you’re interested in giving some programming fonts a whirl, I highly recommend you start your exploration with Proggy Programming Fonts. I particularly like (and currently use) the one called CodingFontTobi which really makes reading through large blocks of code a breeze. I discovered it wasn’t fully compatible with OS X (tabs would appear as funky symbols), so if you’ve got a Mac I recommend downloading my modified version.