First draft of Unified Font Object v3 spec published

Today RoboFab developers published first public draft of Unified Font Object (UFO) v3 specification. UFO allows storing glyphs of fonts and works nicely as exchange file format (well, formats, actually) for type authoring tools such as Fontlab and FontForge.

The third iteration of UFO is bringing some very interesting improvements.

One of the big new features is a newly added layers model that is implemented as a glyph set and is designed in a way that allows all kinds of possible uses: for background/foreground separation (first introduced with Fontographer), for multilayer fonts, for storing revisions of type design etc.

Additionally glyphs can store background images, which might come in handy, if you do collaborative digitization of old fonts and you want to stick to authoring tools you personally prefer.

UFO v3 is also featuring a notion of links which make it possible to describe relationships of nodes in a path such as e.g. "these points form a serif". This part of the spec is still at design stage, and the team welcomes input on that. Originally links were introduced with hinting in mind, but you might find other uses.

Quality of the new spec is considerably better than that of v2. The team says it's mostly thanks to their experience of co-working on WOFF specification, which is why the spec got (and will get) lots of clean-up regarding terminology, code samples and algorithm descriptions. A special attention was given to documentation of the kerning model in UFO.

The existing plan is to release the final spec early next year, but RoboFab team is already starting to implement support for v3 in the library and related tools.

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