Dina, My Favourite Programming Font

I’ve procrastinated a while to publish this post, because I wasn’t sure how useful it would be to the community. Hack it, I finally feel it’s important enough for all to come to know of this wonderful font that made my programming life better when chunks after chunks of code became much easier to look at. 😀

If you’re still using Courier New, the default font for a lot of IDEs, I can certainly tell you it isn’t the best. Here’s a simple comparison of two variables:

Courier New Font

You may or may not notice straightaway, that one of the variables has a "0"(zero) rather than an "O"(capital O) for the text "Outro". Although functionality wise it wouldn’t have cause much of a problem since it’s still a valid variable name, it’s something that I deem as very bad, since it might potentially cause bugs when I least expected it to be.

I began my search sometime around end of last year, and I’m pleased to bring your attention to Dina, which had become my favourite programming font. From the creator’s own words:

Dina is a monospace bitmap font, primarily aimed at programmers. It is relatively compact to allow a lot of code on screen, while (hopefully) clear enough to remain readable even at high resolutions.

Here’s the same comparison of the variables as above. Note how easy it is to spot the mistake now? 😀

Dina Font

The full set of characters from Dina:

Dina Font Set

And finally an example of how things will look when using Dina for programming:

Dina Font Code

As the author had hoped, Dina has really allowed me to see huge chunks of codes at 8pt and yet maintains the crisp-and-clear readability. Its clean nature has also made looking for bugs less frustrating (it’s something that I find to be psychological 😛 ).

Dina is however, for Windows user only. I’m really keen to know what good programming fonts are out there for Mac users (because I’m thinking of getting myself a MacBook Pro in months to come), so it’ll really help if anyone can recommend some fonts that you have used and feel it’s great to use for programming on a mac. 😉

Download Dina Font

About Flashmech

I have too many things in plans for my own good. But well, that's me. :) I love God, praise Him, and trust that He has the best plans in life for me.
This entry was posted in General. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Dina, My Favourite Programming Font

  1. shinchi says:

    I am using the default font, Monaco. which works great . It behaves the same for 0 and O too, and its very pleasant to the eyes. So , if you get a MBP, you won’t need to configure the fonts..it just works!

  2. flashmech says:

    That’s very good to know! 😀

  3. Richard Lord says:

    When I used a mac, I used to use ProFont.

    Now I use windows, I use Consolas, which I think is even better. The link is to a free download from Microsoft. It’s a windows installer but if you run it it just installs four truetype fonts, which you should be able to copy to a mac (if the licence agreement allows this).

  4. flashmech says:

    Hi Richard, I hate to disagree but I think Dina is still better? (Unless I’m doing something wrong 😛 )

    I tested Consolas out in Flex Builder 3 and it was found to be pretty fuzzy, even at 10pt. Dint give the clarity that Dina offered.

    Am testing it out on Windows XP, so maybe it renders better on Vista?

  5. JulesLt says:

    Ah, if you find Consolas fuzzy, you’re probably not going to like Mac fonts, as they often appear fuzzy to people used to Windows fonts.

    I’m using Monaco under Windows and it works fine, but I tend to code in a full-screen editor rather than an IDE, so my typical font size is much larger. It’s the one you’ll see if you watch any of the Ruby on Rails screencasts.

    Doing a quick check (on XP, which handles font smoothing differently) Monaco seems to lose it’s character at 10 points, but is fine 11 points or larger.

    I did a quick comparison with Consolas and I still prefer Monaco (but I do like some of the other new Vista fonts a lot) for the size I work at.

  6. flashmech says:

    @JulesLt
    Monaco is available for windows too? Coolz! I’m going to check that out too to get some first impressions. 😀 Though it’s highly possible that I’m not going to use it since as you mentioned, it’s fuzzy.

    That’s probably why I love Dina so much, for it’s really clear and crisp at 8pt size, giving me the clarity I need, and showing loads of codes all in one glance. :)

  7. check “Envy Code R” font with 10pt!! It’s a impressive font for coding!!

  8. Ketan says:

    Bitstream Vera Sans Mono. End of discussion.

  9. xslr says:

    @flashmech
    Monaco rendering on windows is worlds apart from that on a mac. It is very crisp on windows, so you might like it :)
    I personally use terminus font for coding.