Importance of Fonts: In Relevance to Netbeans

I began using Netbeans around a year ago, and I fell in love with its GUI and all the features it had to offer out of the box. However, there is one thing that drastically reduces the quality of a would-be great IDE. The fonts. Here’s a small example of what the fonts in Netbeans are like in comparison to windows native applications.

compareThe font above is what FixedSys Excelsior looks like in Netbeans, and the bottom what it looks like in WordPad. As you can see, there is a dramatic difference at this zoom level, and one that appears as a general fogginess and blurriness at normal size. This is something that I cannot look at for more than a few minutes without becoming frustrated as I squint at text to no avail. I think that fixing this issue should be the number one issue for the Netbeans development team, as programming constitutes looking at text for a long amount of time, and I don’t think anyone would want to look at that nightmare for hours on end.

I found an issue post on the Netbeans issue tracker, but sadly it hasn’t gotten any attention since earlier this February. Here’s a link to the issue in case anyone wants to help promote them to fix this as soon as possible.

EDIT: I found a temporary solution to the problem, which is to disable AA on fonts altogether until they correct the native font smoothing. This makes it more readable to me, and therefore I can use the IDE again. All you have to do to disable font smoothing in Netbeans is add ” -J-Dswing.aatext=false ” to the default options section of the etc/netbeans.conf file, and then it won’t smooth any fonts in the IDE at all. This makes the fonts slightly harsh compared to ClearType smoothing, but at least they aren’t blurred to the point of headache causing levels. Now that it’s been fixed, the fonts look like this:

newClick on the image above to see the full resolution (because when it’s shrunk it looks just as bad.)



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