Hooray for Comments and Feedback!
Thanks Steve Meyer and Jeffrey Callicott for adding to this discussion. I love it. Not only because Jeffrey shares my feelings and also have good hope that the agreement between Bentley and Autodesk will lead to mutual ability to read SHX/RSC. That is all well... But we must also consider the world outside Audodesk and Bentley. TTFs are readable all over the place and our internal fonts are not always. Thanks Jeffrey for your positive comment!
Steve pointed out another interesting thing in his comment: The fact that many users randomly choose their favorite font for text. This is of course true but has nothing really to do with using RSC, SHX or TTF for that matter. You can have a unique SHX that you are alone in using, a unique font in your RSC or a unique TTF font. The font.rsc file can look completely different on two different machines. This boils ultimately down to that if you want all consultants in your project to use the same fonts you have to provide them with those - no matter if they are SHX, RSC or TTF AND you have to agree on which fonts to use! This is what I usually refer to as "CAD coordination" - a little meeting before the project starts to agree on these things. Every project should of course have a CAD Coordinator. That was a very important thing that you put your finger on Steve - Great!
Another thing is of course that many of the SHX and RSC fonts mainly are created to look exactly like the old texts created with that little plastic card with holes formed as letters we used to use in the old analogue days. Using a font only because it looks like it has always done is no real argument for keeping it according to my mind.
In my mind there are only a few real arguments for a font to be used:
1. Clarity - the font should be easy to read on screen and on drawings
2. Economy - the font should not use too much space
3. Accessability - the font should be easily accessible to all.
4. Completeness - the font should contain all the characters we need.
We could add a fifth not so crucial but for an architect such as I also interesting:
5. Beauty - the font should be nice to look at. Most SHXs and RSC fonts are really ugly.
Brilliant minds such as developers at Autodesk and Bentley should have no problem as to create a number of nice TTFs with all these five criteria in mind for all of us users out there in CAD Land or we can hire a consultant somewhere to do it for us. Or our Gold partner Microsoft...The only important font thing in our projects is that we agree on which fonts to use before we start drawing - not in mid-project as we know has happened!
So we hope for good use of the Obama one-liners "Time for Change!" and "Yes we can!"
Works for me, especially point three. What computer doesn't have Times Roman or Arial?
Personally, I'd love to see all clients go to TTF and abandon RSC or SHX fonts. The problem of doing so is threefold, if rebuttable:
1. In engineering, "old habits die hard", and a lot of CADD standards - well, those my clients use, anway - predate CADD software's ability to use TTFs by quite a few years. This has been since 2001 (First edition of V8) for MicroStation, and since the late 1990s for AutoCAD (Release 14, I think). Still, the argument of "that's how we've always done it" is doing it for no other reason than.
2. The other thing is that TTFs may take more horsepower to generate compared to RSCs/SHXs. Of course, in this time of dual and quad core chips, big deal.
3. And Steve makes an excellent point. You need to use the right TTF, but if you can't necessarily force a user to that... well, even then I'm not so sure that is a deal breaker. But it's a good question regardless.
Still, the more TTFs I can use in with my CADD documents, the happier I'll be. After all, whenever I have public presentations, what type of fonts do you think I use? Hint: they look like something more out of Word than MicroStation!
We actually have a Agency Wide font.rsc file and point to it in our workspace. Then we lock the variable and no one can use other fonts. It's worked great for 20 years. With the ability to use ttf, it would be great if there could be a variable that would only allow certain ttfs to be used. Something like TTF_FONT_AVALABLE= Arial. Something we could put in a workspace and let users pick from some fonts that meet the requirements you outlined above. Thanks for starting this conversation. I'm in.