Who needs Unicode support in PechaMaker?

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Would Unicode support in PechaMaker be useful?

I don't even know what Unicode is.
0
No votes
I don't use Unicode fonts.
0
No votes
I currently convert text from Unicode to ANSI/RTF to use PechaMaker.
1
13%
I would definitely use PechaMaker more if it handled Unicode directly.
7
88%
 
Total votes: 8

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FWJ
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Who needs Unicode support in PechaMaker?

Post by FWJ » Mon Aug 29, 2005 7:25 am

I am trying to find out how many people wish PechaMaker had direct support for Unicode fonts.

Currently PechaMaker does not support Unicode. If you have a document with Unicode text then you must use some other editor to convert the text to an ANSI font. If your editor supports RTF you can just copy the text into the clipboard (using Ctrl+V) and then past it into PechaMaker, which reads RTF. You can also export the text to a file in RTF format and then Import the file into PechaMaker.

I believe there are only one or two good Tibetan Unicode fonts available and that they are not widely used. (But then, I am not even sure if PechaMaker is widely used.) So, I am looking for information on how much interest there is in a new version of PechaMaker for Unicode.

I know people use the UDP editor for Tibetan Unicode and that there is a list of Tibetan Unicode fonts there.
Please post information on any other Tibetan Unicode fonts or other Unicode editors that you know of.

Thanks for taking the poll up above!
Last edited by FWJ on Sat Dec 17, 2005 9:16 pm, edited 2 times in total.

CEW
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Unicode Tibetan

Post by CEW » Mon Oct 10, 2005 6:03 pm

Unicode support for PechaMaker would really make a huge difference! New ANSI systems continue to pop up eventhough most operating systems are now posed to render Unicode Tibetan correctly. In Tibet, most of these new fonts *still* use a double-byte system that uses the chinese block of encoding. It would be nice to see everyone put these incompatible systems behind us.

For Unicode Tibetan, several EWTS keyboards exist, and many older keyboard input systems have been imitated used Keyman or other means.

The beta version of Windows Vista which which now out does indeed have the Microsoft Himalaya Unicode Tibetan font built in, and has system wide support for the uniscribe engine that renders the Open-typed ligatures correctly. I would anticipate that when Vista is released, it will be quite the hot item in Tibet. Having pecha maker ready and tested for Unicode as Vista comes out would really add to the excitement of next year. Windows Tibetan keyboards for Unicode, both system-intrinsic or using third party software, are growing in number.


Most of Office 2003 for XP is already set up for Unicode Tibetan, though there are some issues still that can be sticky (line-breaking for one). Getting Unicode Tibetan to work for other applications in Windows XP requires a few steps, but in general, it is not hard. Down the road, I plan to give more instructions for this at The Tibetan Portal.

In addition to the excellent UDP editor, BabelPad offers easy support to Unicode Tibetan editing. Babelpad has a built in Wylie keyboard and knows when to render a line break within a Tibetan paragraph.

Good Unicode Tibetan fonts are growing in number. There about 5 or 6 available for Windows, and for Mac OS X, Xenotype technologies offers both uchen and a beta version of a nice umey font (nice!).

One of the big issues in Tibet is ease of installation. If Pecha Maker were easy to install in Vista, such that it just immediately worked with no extra font installs, etc, that would be overcoming a big hurdle. Second, of course, would be a manual in Tibetan.

Thanks for the great software!

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Post by cfynn » Sat Feb 10, 2007 11:04 am

Yes, I think that adding Unicode support, and support for OpenType Tibetan fonts, in PechaMaker is very important.

What's wrong with existing fonts?

TCC & Nitartha-Sambhota Tibetan fonts are 8-bit fonts which allow a maximum of 256 glyphs per font (in practice even less) - this means that, to contain all the glyphs required for a single Tibetan typeface, - several individual font files are required ( a set of 5 font files per typeface for TCC Tibetan! typefaces - and even more for Nitartha-Sambhota's Dedris typeface). These fonts use non-standard encodings - mapping Tibetan glyphs to Latin characters in the "Windows ANSI" code page (glyphs masquerade as characters which they actually have nothing to do with); these fonts are not cross-platform; and the Type 1 and plain True-Type font file formats do not support "smart font" technologies needed for ideal support of complex scripts like Tibetan.

When several different font files all mapped to the same 8-bit charater set are used to cover the glyph set required for Tibetan several different letter combinations are mapped to one and the same character. (e.g. TCC Tibetan! fonts map 5 different Tibetan glyphs to a single Windows ANSI character). This makes practical and reliable searching, collating, and transmission of Tibetan text encoded using these fonts over the internet a real problem.

For long term archiving and retrieval of Tibetan script text - there is no guarantee that the non-standard glyph-based encodings used by these systems will be supported in future applications and operating systems.

In Windows Vista there is now native support for Unicode Tibetan and OpenType Tibetan fonts.
  • Windows GDI still supports Type1, TrueType and OpenType-CFF, as well as OpenType-TrueType fonts.
  • GDI+ only supports TrueType and OpenType-TrueType fonts.
  • WPF (aka "Avalon") supports only OpenType-CFF and OpenType-TrueType fonts.
So, while your 8-bit Tibetan fonts should still work for quite a while - the writing is on the wall as, over the longer term, support for GDI (and GDI+) is clearly slowly being phased out of Windows and Windows based applications. In WPF (?Avalon?) applications your 8-bit fonts won't even show up in the font menu.

Why Unicode?

The only internationally recognized standard for Tibetan text is Unicode / iso 10646. In addition to this international standard, there is a Chinese national standard which maps glyphs for thousands of pre-composed Tibetan stacks to characters in the PUA (private use areas) of the Unicode standard.

In addition:
  • W3C, IETF and OMG; including HTML v.4, XML, XHTML, XSL, LDAP, CORBA 3.0, and other new technologies require Unicode character encoding.
  • The MARC 21 standard for machine-readable cataloguing specifies use of Unicode in "MARC 21 Specifications for Record Structure, Character Sets, and Exchange Media".
  • Unicode support is a requirement of several other international standards dealing with text data.


OpenType fonts.

As well as Unicode support, OpenType fonts offer several other key features useful for Tibetan:
  • cross-platform, single-file fonts
  • up to 64,000 glyphs per font.
  • support for for advanced typographic features, including contextual glyph substitution and positioning, needed for best rendering of the Tibetan script.
OpenType is also an effective means to correlate Tibetan text (i.e. Unicode characters - nothing else is reliable in enough contexts) with Tibetan glyphs (the shapes we read) . For storage, search, transmission and reuse - all of which are vitally important in modern archiving and publishing - this is a crucial feature.

So, my request is: Please add support for Unicode and OpenType fonts to PechaMaker.

- Chris
Christopher J Fynn
Dzongkha Development Commission
Thimphu, Bhutan

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Post by cfynn » Sat Feb 10, 2007 11:21 am

Jomolhari font

You requested:
Please post information on any other Tibetan Unicode fonts
A new Tibetan script Unicode font, Jomolhari, is freely available from:
http://www.thdl.org/tools/fonts/tibfont ... 0607171100

I specifically designed this font for creating pecha.

More information about the Jomolhari font is available at:
http://www.btinternet.com/~c.fynn/tibet ... lhari.html

- Chris
Christopher J Fynn
Dzongkha Development Commission
Thimphu, Bhutan

Bj Lhundrup
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Post by Bj Lhundrup » Sat Feb 17, 2007 2:18 am

I have asked and asked and one can seem to make me understand what and the importance of Unicode fonts.

Anyone wish to share with me why we need them. and can anyone tell me why Jomo Lhari does not work right. ka+ya ta and things like that do not come out looking right in the UDP program.

cfynn
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Post by cfynn » Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:10 am

Bj Lhundrup wrote:I have asked and asked and one can seem to make me understand what and the importance of Unicode fonts.

Anyone wish to share with me why we need them.
Well Unicode is an international standard, text based encoding - not a non-standard, font / glyph based encoding.

One thing this means that your texts are searchable, indexable, etc. In other words, Unicode Tibetan texts are searchable using standard search engines (like Google, Alta-Vista, Yahoo, etc.); you can easily do search and replace operations in standard word processors & text editors; and use standard text tools like diff to spot differences in versions of Tibetan text files - or in different input versions.

Other things include that your text will work on all different operating systems that use Unicode (including Linux, Unix, Mac OSX & Windows) as you will no longer have to worry about a particular font being available or a particular non-standard encoding being supported on other systems; you can save files with Tibetan names, - and your text will be more or less "future proof" - since Unicode is going to be the basic standard for
international character & text encoding for many, many years to come just as US ASCII has been the basic standard for English text for many years until now.

In OpenOffice v2.1 you can now automatically sort lists or tables of Dzongkha or Tibetan words into correct Tibetan dictionary order; create a correctly ordered index of Tibetan or Dzongkha words, in a spreadsheet have your dates and numbers appear in either English or Tibetan format depending on the preferences you choose and simply switch between one and the other format just by changing your preferences or a stylesheet - and not re-entering the dates or figures. Presumably there are similar features available in MS Office 2007 running on Windows Vista (I haven't had the opportunity to try this yet) - and as more and more applications are built to handle Unicode and complex scripts there will be less and less need for specialized applications built to handle Tibetan using non standard font based encodings.

Don't get me wrong. When most current Tibetan applications & fonts were built it was impractical or pretty well impossible to use Unicode for Tibetan and some people did an amazingly good job levereging the technology available at the time. There are still quite a number of things which it is easier to do using non-Unicode systems (including formatting pecha) - after all some of these non-Unicode systems had their origins in the 1980's and they have constantly been tweaked and improved since then. So, on some fronts, there is simply still a lot of catching up to do - but that is happening very quickly. If everyone concentrates on Unicode development rather than on systems that, imo, in the end will likely prove a dead-end, then this will happen even faster.

You may also prefer the designs of the non-Unicode Tibetan fonts available to those of the Unicode fonts currently available. However it is a relatively straightforward , albeit time-consuming, task to convert these non-Unicode fonts to a format such as OpenType which supports Unicode - and if the developer wants, at the same time they can add features unavailable in previous font formats. So there is no real reason why we can't use the same font designs for many, many years to come - other than that the developers of those fonts haven't done the conversion yet.

One other thing is that Unicode / OpenType fonts for Tibetan should work with all Tibetan text - so can easily format Unicode Tibetan text in fonts from different developers - just as you can with English text. The number of OpenType Unicode Tibetan fonts available is slowly increasing - and it shouldn't be too long before there are more Unicode Tibetan fonts available than non-Unicode fonts. OpenType also makes it much easier to support different varieties of Tibetan script.

Of course, just when you switch to Unicode is something that you may need to carefully consider. If you are in the midst of a Tibetan book publication project using an older non-Unicode based system it might cause delays and complications to switch right now - but, once your books are printed, please consider converting the input text to Unicode format for long-term archival storage. If you are publishing a Tibetan or Dzongkha language newspaper it may also be difficult to switch to Unicode for another year or two as page layout applications like InDesign, although they support Unicode, have not yet implemented support for complex script shaping of Tibetan text required to use OpenType Tibetan fonts. Of course these things are being worked on.

also see: Tibetan Fonts at THDL

- Chris
Christopher J Fynn
Dzongkha Development Commission
Thimphu, Bhutan

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Unicode Vote +1

Post by oubiwann » Fri Mar 07, 2008 5:15 am

Yes, I would love to see Unicode support in PM!

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Re: Unicode Vote +1

Post by cfynn » Fri Mar 07, 2008 7:06 am

oubiwann wrote:Yes, I would love to see Unicode support in PM!

Now that support for Tibetan Unicode is *standard* in Windows (Vista), Mac OSX (Leopard), Linux and an increasing number of applications - perhaps it is now time to move on this?
Christopher J Fynn
Dzongkha Development Commission
Thimphu, Bhutan

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Re: Unicode Vote +1

Post by oubiwann » Sat Mar 08, 2008 3:12 am

cfynn wrote:
oubiwann wrote:Yes, I would love to see Unicode support in PM!

Now that support for Tibetan Unicode is *standard* in Windows (Vista), Mac OSX (Leopard), Linux and an increasing number of applications - perhaps it is now time to move on this?
Hey Chris,

FWJ and I have had a few discussions recently, and though he will likely continue to add features to PM for all of us, he's been so kind to provide lots of feedback on a new project I have started and has even been gracious enough to let me post about it on this forum.

I'm crafting the message now... and based on your activities with Pango, etc., you may be quite interested in contributing :-)

More soon,

d

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Re: Unicode Vote +1

Post by cfynn » Sat Mar 08, 2008 12:37 pm

oubiwann wrote: .....
I'm crafting the message now... and based on your activities with Pango, etc., you may be quite interested in contributing :-)

More soon,

I look forward to hearing more about this.


- Chris
Christopher J Fynn
Dzongkha Development Commission
Thimphu, Bhutan

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Re: Unicode Vote +1

Post by oubiwann » Mon Mar 10, 2008 10:21 pm

cfynn wrote:
oubiwann wrote: .....
I'm crafting the message now... and based on your activities with Pango, etc., you may be quite interested in contributing :-)

More soon,

I look forward to hearing more about this.


- Chris
For those that come along later and read this, the announcement about this project was made in the following two places:
* http://www.pechamaker.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=37
* http://mountaindharma.blogspot.com/2008 ... ement.html

The project page for PechaPublisher is here:
http://code.google.com/p/pecha-pub/

d

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