Native font rendering?


This isn’t a need for me right now… but I was having a nice chat with another programmer online who switched from Juce to Qt and was somewhat regretting it - but the killer feature he’d needed was native font rendering, which apparently Qt offers.

Just a data point - at least one person didn’t use Juce (sacrilege!) because of this.


If you are using the CoreGraphics renderer on Mac OS X or IOS (which is on by default) then you are getting native font rendering.
On Windows, Linux and Android you will be getting Juce’s font rendering.
Juce may eventually get Windows native font rendering if the D2D renderer ever gets finished. I had to stop due to my lack of understanding how Juce works with native windowing but its actually pretty close to complete and the vast majority of my changes are in the tip. Unfortunately the performance is noticeably slower on older machines.

Hopefully high dpi displays become the norm and we can finally give all this font hinting stuff a rest.


Excellent, good to know. Hopefully the marginal extra interest will inspire you to greater heights.

Hopefully high dpi displays become the norm and we can finally give all this font hinting stuff a rest.

Amen, brother!


Heh…that’s not gonna happen. With a higher DPI display comes the benefit of being able to draw more text in the same physical area. Of course, the individual characters will be smaller. In order to get these glyphs to look good…they will have to be hinted.

Now it is true that with a much higher DPI display you could draw characters at the same physical size without hinting (i.e. render them at a higher DPI) but what’s the use of that? The whole point of increasing the DPI of handheld device displays is that you can see more of the web page (or whatever) in the same area.


Well Apple has clearly decided that with their OSes and their high DPI displays that you draw the characters at the same physical size.
OS X doesn’t even allow MBPr users to use 2880x1800 natively without resorting to third party apps or making changes via the command line.

As for the purpose, Apple hasn’t convinced you with their marketing speak?


I think it comes down to personal preference. After seeing an iPad 3 and MBPr, I think I’d prefer my text to be extra crispy at the cost of 4x resolution at least on small screens. As for large screens, well I’m all for 4k at native. Hopefully we’ll see more of those next year.


Amen. Hopefully within a few years hinting is going be consigned to the history books along with 256-colour palettes, bitmap fonts, etc. I’m surprised it has taken this long.

I reckon that the opposite is true.

When you’re viewing text at very small sizes or large distances (i.e. at a small enough angular size on your retina), then your visual perception starts to rely more heavily on letter and word spacings than it does on the individual glyph strokes, and that favours non-hinted fonts, whose overall layout is more balanced.

So I’d bet that on a high-DPI display, in a side-by-side comparison of e.g. 12-pixel high hinted and non-hinted text (which would be ridiculously small!), almost everyone would find the non-hinted version more readable.