Some days ago Adobe announced a new monospaced OpenType font Source Code Pro designed for coding environments. I have used Menlo for years now and was curious if I can see any benefits from the new font for coding.
I find the described advantages of Source Code Pro in Menlo too: readability of potentially confusable characters like iI1 or O0 and readability of punctuation marks, brackets and mathematical symbols. But with the same font size the character height of Source Code Pro is smaller but the line height is larger. Take a look at a code snippet in 12pt, screenshot height 200px
Source Code Pro 12 pt
Menlo 12 pt
If you increase the real font size to get the same perceived font size the same code needs more screen width and height with Source Code Pro than with Menlo. And the additional line spacing is needless because you can configure the line spacing in most of the IDEs.
For me it’s very important to get as many information on the screen as possible. I don’t like to scroll to see the context or to read the line to its end. Sure, good code is short. A function has only twenty lines of code with no line longer than 120 characters and a class ends after two screens. But in real life you have to read some code from your colleagues. And be honest: not every line you wrote follows the rules of clean code…
I like the Menlo. It looks more elegant to me and I see more code. I will continue using it for coding.