The Quest for The Best Programming Font

operator_ide2
operator_ide2

If you’re into programming, you gotta be spending most of your time on computer looking at an IDE either writing, inspecting or debugging code, scanning logs, writing commands, etc.

One kind of overlooked aspects of programming is the environment, which I think once set up properly, will have a dramatic effect on your productivity. I find it weird to see programmers who use the environment exactly with their default settings, without ever changing anything.The font you’re using is a really important but yet a neglected part of the environment you’re using. In our recent post, we have talked about some tools that will help you to be more productive, and this post actually can be considered as a complementary one.

I had been using Envy Code R for almost 8 years now. One of my previous colleagues was using it. After giving a try, I really liked it and the first thing I do when I set up a new environment on a new machine would be downloading this font and setting up IDE and terminal environment to use it, until recently.

Last week when I was researching for a technical issue, I have found a video in which the instructor uses a different font in the IDE which I fell in love at first sight. I looked at the comments, searched for the instructor’s name and other videos and blogs but I couldn’t find anything. I even took a screenshot of the video and tried the services which find the font in the given picture, but no luck. Finally, somewhere I have found a comment of the instructor regarding a comment asking for the environment he uses, and the answer was: Operator and Fira Code.

Operator is a monospaced font that explicitly designed for programmers. It looks stunningly beautiful, but that beauty has a price tag: $199. I think even for programmers obsessive about fonts, that is a really high price to pay.

operator_ide2
Operator: Beautiful but pricey

That’s why I’ve decided stick with the other, free and almost equally beautiful alternative: Fira Code.

javascript
javascript

As you can see on it’s Github page, Fira Code is a monospaced font with programming ligatures.

firacode
Fira Code ligatures

Ligatures make the code much more readable and pleasant to write, converting discrete symbols into united ones, as we would do if we write the code by hand. It’s also beautifully designed, looks awesome and supported in many major environments like IDEs and terminals. You can find the full list of supported environments on the Github page of the project.

There are also attempts to use Fira Code with another cursive style font to create Operator-font-like experience. If your programming environment supports to use more than one font inside the editor, you may want to give a try to that also.

Give a try to Fira Code. I hope you’ll like it.

Happy coding, and see you next time.

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Founder @ Koders. Computer engineer, entrepreneur, trainer, consultant. Mostly interested in Big Data ecosystem (Hadoop, Spark, NoSQL and related technologies), Java, Scala, Enterprise technologies and Agile software development. You may find and follow him on Twitter and Linkedin.

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