Switch between monospaced and proportional fonts in Komodo IDE X

One of my favorite and most-used features in previous versions of Komodo IDE was the ability to select both a monospaced font and a proportional font in the same “color scheme” (somewhat misnamed because it’s really a color+font scheme), and to indicate which of the two was your preferred font.

I greatly prefer coding in a proportional font, but occasionally have to switch to a monospaced font, e.g. when contributing to a project that makes heavy use of column alignment. Komodo was the only editor I’ve found that made this so easy.

Oddly, Komodo didn’t have a predefined hotkey to switch between these two fonts, but it was easy to map an unused key combination to the “User Interface: Use Fixed/Proportional Font” action.

In addition, Komodo allowed you to select between the proportional and monospaced font for each individual syntax category. When I was working on a project that had a lot of ASCII art in the comments, I used a scheme that selected the fixed font for comments and the proportional font for everything else.

In short, Komodo had the most brilliant handling of proportional and monospaced fonts that I’ve ever seen in any IDE.

In Komodo IDE X, both of these features seem to be gone. In the new Color Scheme Editor, I only see a single font selection under Default Font. There’s no opportunity to choose both a proportional and monospaced font and select which is preferred, as the old Komodo had. And the individual syntax elements don’t have a font selection at all.

Looking in the Key Bindings dialog, the Use Fixed/Proportional Font action is still listed, with a hotkey on OSX of Alt+Command+O. When I try that after setting my scheme to a proportional font, it does switch to another font, but just a different proportional font.

So this kind of feels like the underlying feature may still exist, it just wasn’t implemented in the new UI. I wonder if there’s a config file somewhere so I could just edit the monospaced font setting directly? That would be good enough to get me by.

In any case I am bummed to see this feature go by the wayside. Yes, only a small minority of programmers use proportional fonts. But for me, Komodo’s excellent support of proportional fonts was one of the things that has kept me renewing my support subscription.

I can understand the desire for a simpler user experience, but here it seems that you threw out a perfectly good working feature that I relied on in my daily work.

Unfortunately proportional fonts create a lot of edge cases, and when it came right down to it we felt that the average programmer would not (or -should- not) use proportional fonts. Of course I understand there is a use case for it, and not everything you write in Komodo may be code. But the fact of the matter is that Komodo is explicitly intended for writing code, and while you can use it for other purposes that is not what we are catering to.

I’m not against bringing it back, but we’d need to hear more feedback before that would happen. Could you share your use-case for wanting proportional fonts with us?

I use proportional fonts for coding (specifically, Calibri at 12pt). There is a significant improvement in readability because the different widths of Latin letters are an important signal that allows the brain to recognize them. Any font in which “i” is the same width as “m” is simply distorted. The only reason monospaced fonts exist is limitations of typewriter technology and then the “text mode” on early PCs.
I never run into any issues, other than the fact that sometimes comments at the end of a line do not align perfectly, but that’s no big deal. I suspect most devs who insist on monospaced fonts have simply never tried a proportional font.