One month with Fira Code 8 Dec 2017

One month with Fira Code 8 Dec 2017

After using “Fira Code” for a month now, it was time to do a little review and to decide whether I should give it my personal blessing. Spoiler: I love it!

Hi, I’m Ibe Vanmeenen, you may remember me from such frontend code as “Javascript Development @Sweet Mustard” or “CSS Development @Sweet Mustard”.

The problem

Programmers use a lot of symbols, often encoded by combining several characters. For the human brain, sequences like =>, === or >= are single logical tokens, even if they take two or three characters on the screen.

Your eyes typically move across a page for between 7 to 9 characters before needing to pause to process what you are reading. So combining two or three characters into a single logical character can have a big impact on the time needed to process your line of code. Ideally, your complete focus should be on understanding the code, not combined with parsing and joining characters.

Fira Code to the rescue

Meet Fira Code. Fira Code is an extension of the Fira Mono font developed by Mozilla containing a set of ligatures for common programming multi-character combinations. In short: it is monospaced font with programming ligatures. This small but noticeable feature should help the programmer to read her/his code a little bit faster. These ligatures are just a font rendering feature, the underlying code remains ASCII-compatible.

Examples

Example 1: Arrow functions in javascript

Fira code makes arrow functions just a little bit easier to read by turning the two character arrow into a single arrow symbol.

Mono:
Example1

Code:
Example1Code

Example 2 – Comparison Operators in javascript

Fira code also has a great impact on the readability of some comparison operators:

Mono:
Example2Mono

Code:
Example2Code

This is just a small grap out of the possibilities. You can check all the programming ligatures included in Fira Code below.

Full Example

Fullexample

Should I try?

Yes, you should! For me, Fira Code just works and I will continue to use it in my daily work. My biggest fear was that these ligatures would obstruct my type-flow and/or break other characters. This is not the case, it is only there when you need it.

The good news is that Fira Code is free to use. You can find the the latest version here on GitHub. If you use Visual Code, Webstorm or one of the other most commonly used editors, the font is already installed and available. And if that is not enough, you can also follow your new favourite font on Twitter to see its upcoming features.