I Have The Power[line]!; Chartwell; ALL YOUR [GAME] FONTS ARE BELONG TO US
Somewhat less expository today as it's the final day of the "work week" funemployment and tis a great chilly Maine Spring day for a long bike ride.
I Have The Power[line]!
I start my new adventure this coming Monday and the benevolent IT and CEOverlords were gracious enough to grant my outrageous request for a maxed out Mac Studio (it's dreamy!), which means I can finally justify a heavy-ish Zsh prompt configuration.
Powerline is a "status line" plug-in for vim, but also provides status lines/prompts for other contexts, such as zsh, bash, tmux, and more. Yes, it's [re-]written in Python, but let's not hold that against it too much (and, if you're a hard core vim users who hates Python as much as I do you can use airline in a vim context.
Depending on what you want to do with it, there are potentially quite a few requirements:
C compiler. Required to build powerline client on linux. If it is not present then powerline will fall back to shell script or python client.
socat program. Required for shell variant of client which runs a bit faster than python version of the client, but still slower than C version.
psutil python package. Required for some segments like
cpu_percent. Some segments have linux-only fallbacks for
hglib python packageand mercurial executable. Required to work with
pygit2 python packageor git executable. Required to work with
bzr python package(note: not standalone executable). Required to work with
pyuv python package. Required for
libuv-based watcher to work.
i3ipc python package. Required for
i3wmbindings and segments.
xrandr program. Required for the multi-monitor lemonbar binding and the
but, I suspect most users have minimal needs.
The idea behind Powerline is to help you provide as much or little information about, well, anything, you'd like in the status bar of the program (zsh/vim/etc) you're in at the moment. Truly, anything that can be collected with Python can be put into a segment of a line, but remember that the status line itself runs code to update, so you may be sacrificing speed, memory, and bandwidth to have a spiffier looking contextual information display.
I started my zsh reconfiguration this week and I'll post what I end up with next week. In the meantime, check out the docs if you're interested in using it, and drop questions or links to your EPIC Powerline config(s) in the comments.
Some components of Powerline segments require the use of a specialized font. The Powerline GH organization provides a plethora of "patched" fonts (i.e. generally cool/common/popular monospaced fonts that have been tweaked to support Powerline features).
Speaking of fonts…
Markdown made it ridiculously possible to focus on content creation, keeping work within a keyboard context, and not requiring clicks and GUI elements to format type or even insert images. Wouldn't it be great if one could do that with [inline] charts as well (and without code)? It turns out, you kinda can thanks to the awesomeness of OpenType.
Chartwell (link goes to the wayback machine as FontShop is kind of obnoxious to visitors if you go there directly) is an "old" (2012!!) font/concept by Travis Kochel, and has not seen much use or recent/continued hype (I posit that is due to it still being a pay-for font).
I thought it deserved a quick re-up.
With Chartwell, you can use text and colors, like in the section header image, and get back a full-on, styled chart without using any other program or tool. Originally, it was only a desktop font, but was quickly turned into a webfont to try to achieve broader use. Clever folks might want to try some sneaky GitHub search queries to locate a "demo" copy of the font to play with before you decide to drop some coin on it and use it in your web creations.
It was the first in what was new category of fonts that use ligatures to transform text into graphical representations, leaving the text itself untouched. The inner workings of it are really cool, and I encourage you to acquire your favorite reading beverage, sit back, and take in the Chartwell deep dive over at Tumblr.
ALL YOUR [GAME] FONTS ARE BELONG TO US
Toshi Omagari (@tosche_e) is an independent typeface designer. Taking inspiration from old [arcade] game fonts, he started Tabular Type Foundry that focuses on monospaced typefaces, but also runs Omega Type Foundry which focuses on non-monospaced fonts.
Toshi's Arcade Game Typography is a gorgeous and well-researched survey of decades'-old arcade game pixel-font typography. The tome featurs 250 pixel typefaces that Toshi selected, and then extracted, from arcade boards. Each were redrawn and classified by style, then documented with expert commentary. Toshi also takes a deep dive into video game typography theory and practice. If you were ever (or still are) a fan of games like Super Sprint, Pac-Man, After Burner, Marble Madness, Shinobi, and others you'll be transported back in time as you read through the exquisitely laid out pages.
If you're a bit short on cash, or just prefer pictures to move by themselves with sound, you can get a glimpse of Toshi's expertise and style from a recent talk on these game fonts:
I really need to do more font-posts.
Hope folks have a great weekend, and really hope fellow New Englanders manage to keep cool. ☮