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Fontcase 2.0

Craig Hockenberry, writing at the Iconfactory blog:

I’m pretty sure this is the first time we’re announcing a new product that isn’t version 1.0. I’m absolutely sure this is the first time that we’re announcing a release that isn’t our own app.

Let me explain.

It all began with our simple text companion, Tot. Everyone wanted to use custom fonts for their text on iOS. We all have our favorite editing fonts and they were easy to configure on macOS. It made sense to bring this capability to the mobile app.

Fontcase is a free-of-charge open source iPhone/iPad utility for installing fonts via custom configuration profiles, which is the only way to install arbitrary fonts on iOS. This is so much harder and more complicated than on the Mac, where you just open fonts in the built-in Font Book utility and let it install them for you — and where, behind the scenes, installation is no more complicated than copying the fonts files to ~/Library/Fonts. But Fontcase makes this process on iOS so much easier than without it.

I get it. iOS font installation isn’t complicated and finicky because Apple doesn’t realize that it’s complicated and finicky — it is this way for privacy and security reasons. But if you take a step back and ponder the situation, it’s bananas that iOS is a personal computing platform from Apple — Apple of all companies, the company that brought about the desktop publishing and computer-based graphic design revolutions — and they make it insanely hard to install fonts. Computer platforms where it was hard or simply impossible to install custom fonts were something Mac users spent the entire decade of the 1990s mercilessly mocking. The balance between “custom fonts are a potential security/privacy issue” and “custom fonts should be easy to install and manage” is just completely out of whack on iOS.

Anyway, if you have fonts on your Mac that you wish you had on your iPad or iPhone, check out Fontcase. But I really hope Apple sherlocks this with iOS/iPadOS 14.

Friday, 12 June 2020