The pinnacle of web development is hand-coding. No other approach delivers the same bespoke quality, performance and all round job-well-done-ness as rolling up your sleeves and digging into source code.
As a result, most of us spend all day everyday staring at markup, style sheets, and assorted server-side code. Despite this most of us leave our applications with their default settings. But with a simple change of font, scanning our code becomes far simpler.
Selecting an appropriate font for coding is a unique task, in that the only audience you have to consider is yourself. The only thing that counts is what works for you.
The challenge is that coding is unlike most written formats; whilst most text has fairly regular line lengths, even when set ragged, the nature of our programming languages means that line lengths vary from a single character up to many hundreds per line; you need to select a font that is easily scannable with distinct individual letters.
You also need to ensure that your font has a full complement of mathematical symbols, brackets and punctuation; any font that covers basic latin is usually enough.
Finally, you need to ensure that the characters are sufficiently distinct at a small point size. Common problems are distinguishing the number ‘1’ from the lowercase ‘l’ and the uppercase ‘O’ from the number 0.
The most common choices are monospaced fonts, as they create predictable line lengths and are traditionally used in technical data. However, the only rule is that you select a font that works for you. Pick the right one and your coding will be faster, easier to read back and less error prone.
Ubuntu Mono (free)
Century Schoolbook Monospaced ($24.75)
Droid Sans Pro Regular ($79)
Trim Mono Light ($54 approx.)
Average Mono (free)
Excaliber Monospace (free)
Briem Mono ($50 approx.)
Blackbox Mono Superset ($149)
Kettler Regular ($39)
Nimbus Monospace ($19.95)
Pica 10 Pitch ($34 approx.)
Prestige Elite Regular ($40 approx.)
ITC Souvenir Mono Light ($48 approx.)
Typewriter Elite Regular ($29)
Typiqal Mono ($29)
Monospace Typewriter (free)
Isonorm Monospaced Regular ($54 approx.)
Deja Vu Sans Mono (free)
Elronet Monospace (free)
Dina (free — Windows only)
What font do you use for coding? Do different fonts work better for different programming languages? Let us know in the comments.
Featured image/thumbnail, programming image via Shutterstock.