Welcome to the first version of this site! (and hopefully a temporary one!) This website's goal is to provide online teaching material
for METAFONT, the font-making programming language by
Donald E. Knuth, and incidentally for
TeX, the typesetting system invented by the same Knuth, and
LaTeX, the document-preparation system based on TeX originally created by
Welcome to the first version of this site! (and hopefully a temporary one!) This website's goal is to provide online teaching material for METAFONT, the font-making programming language by Donald E. Knuth, and incidentally for TeX, the typesetting system invented by the same Knuth, and LaTeX, the document-preparation system based on TeX originally created by Leslie Lamport.
METAFONT is a powerful tool for font creation, which was used by Donald Knuth to create the Computer Modern fonts, used as standard by TeX and LaTeX, and now the standard fonts used for scientific publication. Despite Knuth's self-claimed amateurism in the domain, the Computer Modern fonts are considered by many to be a chef-d'oeuvre of typography.
However, unlike its companions TeX and LaTeX, METAFONT has stayed in the shadows, and even experienced TeX/LaTeX users know seldom about it. It is often held to be too difficult of use, too arcane, and documentation is seriously lacking about it.
This website is meant to correct this situation, by providing a series of free online tutorials that will allow anyone with only a limited experience in computers to create their own fonts with METAFONT.
Although this site is mainly devoted to the METAFONT programming language, it is not possible to leave TeX/LaTeX out of the picture. This is because just like typography and typesetting are deeply interdependent (the way you arrange characters on a page depends partly on the shape of those characters itself), METAFONT and TeX/LaTeX can't work without each other (METAFONT creates fonts that work only with TeX and LaTeX, and in turn TeX and LaTeX need METAFONT to give them the font information they need). Creating a font is not everything: you also have to configure TeX or LaTeX to use it, and the font-related commands of TeX and LaTeX are about the most underdocumented of all. For this reason, this website will also provide tutorials for TeX and LaTeX, although those will presuppose that you already have some experience in the use of those typesetting systems. There are enough general tutorials out there that we can concentrate here only on the font-related problems the beginner stumbles on.
Finally, this site is meant to become a portal, connecting to other sites devoted to fonts and METAFONT.
This is the official website of the (La)TeX/METAFONT-for-Conlangers mailing list, and as such is primarily made for conlangers who wish to create fonts for their scripts (so some tutorials will be directed towards script construction itself rather than simply typography). However, anyone interested in typography will find useful material here, and the main tutorials are not specifically directed towards language inventors. To learn more about conlanging, check the Conlang FAQ as well as the Invaluable Conlang Links.
This site is brand new, and as such contains very little material. The best we can do for the moment is redirect you to some interesting sites: