Build configuration

There are three basic layers to the build configuration for fonts:

  1. Common infrastructure and metadata
  2. Reusable font bundles and groups
  3. Product-specific configurations


The setup for getting a collection of fonts into a Fuchsia build is somewhat tricky. This is because

  • Fuchsia's developer guidelines prefer to keep prebuilt binary files in CIPD, not in Git repos.
  • Fuchsia's font files come from a variety of sources.
  • On a running Fuchsia system, it's not sufficient to just offer clients a directory full of .ttf files.
    • Font files are not fully self-describing; there is important metadata (such as names, aliases, and style properties) that must be obtained externally.
    • Other pieces of metadata, such as the list of code points supported by a font, could be obtained at runtime from each font file, but it would be much more efficient to precompute them at build time.
    • Client applications might not know exactly what font they are looking for; they might want to ask for a particular generic font family, style, and language, but not actually have a specific font file in mind.
  • Font metadata is verbose, often repetitive, and error-prone to maintain. It is preferable to define this metadata just once for every common font available on Fuchsia, than to ask maintainers of product targets and individual components to manage their own copies.

Common infrastructure and metadata

The first layer establishes the catalogs of assets and metadata that are available for use in Fuchsia product builds.

Font data repo

The metadata and list of external sources for font files is maintained in a font data repo. For Fuchsia's open-source fonts, this is found at //fontdata.

Note: The fontdata repo is not part of Fuchsia's standard jiri checkout; for editing, it must be checked out manually.

Whenever the contents of a font data repo change, Fuchsia‘s automated infrastructure automatically checks it out, fetches all of the fonts files that the repo describes, and bundles them into a CIPD package that is uploaded to Fuchsia’s CIPD server.

A font data repo contains the following files:


This is a Jiri manifest file. In this case, it consists of a list of Git repos and revision IDs that contain the desired font files.

Note: Due to a technical limitation, a Jiri manifest cannot currently include external repos (e.g. on directly; repos must first be mirrored to<repo-name>.

Each imported repo is listed in a <project> element.

Sample entry:

  • name: arbitrary name (doesn't affect anything)
  • path: determines where the repo is checked out relative to the root checkout directory.
  • remote: Git URL of remote repo
  • remotebranch: Branch name in remote repo
  • revision: Git commit hash at which to pin the checkout


These are instructions for Fuchsia's infrastructure to copy files from the checkout directory into the staging directory. Each entry of {destination, files} defines a top-level folder in the staging directory, and the list of files that will be copied into it.

Sample entry:

    "destination": "material",
    "files": [


The font catalog file is a human-written bundle of metadata for all of the font families, assets, and typefaces in this font data repo.

For ease of editing, the JSON schema for .font_catalog.json files is available at /src/fonts/tools/schemas/font_catalog.schema.json. The canonical schema is defined in Rust.

Fuchsia's infrastructure invokes this script after populating the staging directory.

The script:

  • Copies all font and license files from the staging directory to the output directory.
  • Generates a ${catalog_name}.font_pkgs.json file in the output directory.

The script generally does not need to be modified.

Infrastructure recipe

As described above, an infrastructure recipe is automatically triggered whenever the fontdata is modified. This recipe:

  1. Checks out the referenced repos using jiri init and jiri update.
  2. Stages the checked out files according to contents.json.
  3. Invokes the packing script to write files to the output directory.
  4. Uploads the contents of the output directory to CIPD.

CIPD package

The bundle of open-source fonts is uploaded to the fuchsia/third_party/fonts CIPD package.

Jiri prebuilts

The contents of the CIPD package make their way into a Fuchsia checkout via the prebuilts jiri manifest:

    <!--   Fonts -->
    <package name="fuchsia/third_party/fonts"

The version ID for the fuchsia/third_party/fonts package can be obtained from the “Tags” on latest instance on the CIPD package page.

Global GN arguments

//src/fonts/build/font_args.gni declares several font-related build arguments. The two most important ones are

*.font_pkgs.json files

These files are designed to be parseable by GN's simple JSON parser, read_file. They contain a list of entries of the form

      "file_name": "AlphaSans-Regular.ttf",
      "safe_name": "alphasans-regular-ttf",
      "path_prefix": "alpha"
  • file_name: The name of a font file asset file. This is the canonical identifier for every font asset, and hence the key in this lookup table.
  • safe_name: A transformed version of the file name: converted to lowercase, with all special characters replaced with hyphens. This can be used to name Fuchsia packages.
  • path_prefix: Location of the asset's parent directory, relative to //prebuilt/third_party/fonts.

In //src/fonts/build/fonts.gni, the contents of the .font_pkgs.json files are merged into a single GN scope that can be used as a lookup table.

Font packages

In addition to providing font assets directly to Font Provider's namespace, there is also the option of creating single-font Fuchsia packages. This is exactly what it sounds like: a package containing just a single font in its resources and nothing else.

This can be used for ephemeral font delivery, in conjunction with fuchsia.pkg.FontResolver. (TODO: Link to more docs.)

Note: Ephemeral packages are currently disabled in production builds.

All possible font packages are predeclared in //src/fonts/packages/

  • Each package name is of the form font-package-<font-safe-name> (see safe_name above), e.g. font-package-roboto-regular-ttf.
  • The GN target for a package is therefore //src/fonts/packages:<package-name>, e.g. //src/fonts/packages:font-package-roboto-regular.ttf.
  • Each package's URL is of the form fuchsia-pkg://<package-name>, e.g. fuchsia-pkg://

Reusable font bundles and groups

The second layer is optional; it is mainly intended to save some repetition. Instead of having to refer to font assets and packages individually, reusable groups are declared in //src/fonts/groups/

local_font_bundle {#local_font_bundle}

Defined in fonts.gni

A local font bundle is a set of font assets that are placed directly into the Font Provider's namespace using build-time configuration data (config_data()).

Most local font bundles are declared in //src/fonts/collections/


{% includecode gerrit_repo="fuchsia/fuchsia" gerrit_path="src/fonts/collections/"
 indented_block="local_font_bundle\(\"small-open-fonts-local\"\)" adjust_indentation="auto" %}

font_package_group {#font_package_group}

Defined in fonts.gni

When referring to multiple font packages, the GN template font_package_group obviates the need to derive or look up fonts assets' package names. Just list the names of the assets, as in this example in //src/fonts/groups/

{% includecode gerrit_repo="fuchsia/fuchsia" gerrit_path="src/fonts/groups/" indented_block="font_package_group\(\"roboto-slab\"\)" adjust_indentation="auto" %}

The target //src/fonts/groups:roboto-slab contains a group of all of the packages corresponding to the listed asset names.

Product-specific font configurations

Finally, every product target that uses fonts needs to be configured with the specific font assets and metadata that it will include.

Font product config files

A .fontcfg.json (or .fontcfg.json5) file contains a human-written set of product-specific font settings. There is a JSON schema available for a better editor experience.

Currently, the main purpose of this file is to define a specific font fallback chain, i.e. a preferred sequence of typefaces to use when an exact match for the client's typeface request is not available.

Here is a basic example of a fallback chain from //src/fonts/collections/open-fonts-collection.fontcfg.json5:

{% includecode gerrit_repo="fuchsia/fuchsia" gerrit_path="src/fonts/collections/open-fonts-collection.fontcfg.json5" regexp="fallback_chain: \[[^\]]*?\]" adjust_indentation="auto" %}

If an asset file contains multiple typefaces, a single typeface can be referenced by using a JSON object instead of just the file name:

fallback_chain: [
    { file_name: "NotoSansCJK-Regular.ttc", index: 1},

The fallback chain is defined manually. Some guidelines to follow:

  • Include at least one font for every supported script. (The set of supported scripts varies by product.)
  • Try to cover at least the sans-serif, serif, and monospace font families.
  • When there is overlapping coverage, put more specific assets higher in the list. For example, all of the Noto Sans script-specific fonts have glyphs for the ASCII range, but the Noto Sans Latin variant should go first.
  • When there is overlapping coverage, put smaller font files higher in the list. This reduces UI jank when loading fallback fonts.

font_collection {#font_collection}

Defined in fonts.gni

After any needed local_font_bundles, font packages, and/or font_package_groups have been declared, they are assembled into a font_collection.

Inputs {#font_collection-inputs}

(See fonts.gni for complete documentation.)

  • font_packages: GN labels of font packages and/or font_package_groups that are in universe_package_labels for the target product.
  • local_font_bundles: GN labels of local_font_bundles (or groups thereof) for the target product. These will be included in the font provider's config data.
  • local_asset_names: List of local font asset names (creates an ad-hoc local_font_bundle).
  • product_config_path: Path to a JSON file containing product-specific font configuration, including a fallback chain.
  • manifest_prefix: A prefix for the generated font manifest file name. Defaults to "all".


A font_collection traverses the transitive closure all of the font assets, packages, and groups that it contains. It collects their GN metadata to build lists of fonts that map to font packages in local files.

The template passes this information to the font manifest generator (GN template, Rust source), along with the paths of the font catalogs and of all of the font assets.

The manifest generator selects from the font catalogs the predefined metadata for the font files that are included in the font_collection. It also reads every included font file and extracts the list of code points (character set) that each font file supports.

All of this data is assembled into a single .font_manifest.json file that supplied to the font provider service using a config_data rule.

Outputs {#:font_collection-outputs}

A font_collection produces the following artifacts:

  • <manifest-prefix>.font_manifest.json: This is the assembly of metadata described above. It is supplied to the font provider service using a config_data rule.
  • font_packages.json. This file lists all included single-font Fuchsia packages and is provided to pkg-resolver using a config_data rule. This determines the font packages exposed through fuchsia.pkg.FontResolver.

The GN target created by font_collection contains the config_data for the two JSON files above, as well as config_data targets for the local font assets.

If a product only uses local fonts, it is sufficient to add the font_collection target to the product's dependency labels (usually to base_package_labels).

If a product also uses font packages and/or font_package_groups, those targets must be added explicitly to either base_package_labels or universe_package_labels, depending on whether the packages are meant to be ephemeral.