christopher's notes

writing in monospace / Commit Mono

Since its inception, I've considered publishing this "blog" in monospace rather than sans-serif. On one hand, I don't want to get caught up forever tweaking CSS rules. I want the site to be simple, unintrusive, not striking in design. On the other hand, I like that monospace indicates a "rough" quality. My notes are written in one go and aren't meant to be polished or sophisticated.

I encountered Commit Mono on マリウス's blog (not an endorsement) and was struck by how it doesn't feel like it is a monospace typeface. It reads very easily. I think this is because it uses what the creator calls "smart kerning". Commit Mono adjusts the kerning around wide characters like "m" to gain some of the advantage of a variable-width font while retaining fixed-width characters.

Seeing a nicely-readable monospace font encouraged me to go ahead and make the change on this site.

This is still the default bearblog theme, I've just swapped out the font. I am using alternate glyphs for "g", "i", "0", and "*" - you can see the differences on the Commit Mono website (section "07 Customize"). You can see everything (including how I've hosted the font on my main website) by looking at the source for this page, which includes all the styles.

One issue I've found is that italics seem to be very squished together. See what I mean? This honestly feels like a bug in either the font or in Firefox, because it's such an obvious flaw in an otherwise extremely thoughtful typeface. If you know the answer, email me? Edit: Seems like this only affects some browsers. I am observing it on Firefox on Windows.

Update, 26 Jun, 2024: Apparently smart kerning and a couple of other features ("smart case" and "symbol spacing") were not enabled. I thought they were supposed to be enabled by default, so not sure what happened there. But in any case, now ss03, ss04, and ss05 are enabled so the kerning should be pretty. Much better.

If you post a reply on another blog or social media, or just want to chat, email me!