Keyboard Convert Service goes Bidi!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/08/30 09:40 -04:00, original URI:

This is undeniably cool -- the Keyboard Convert Service localized into Arabic!

If you are interested in getting it now (or even if you are just interested in looking at the download page in Arabic!) you can see it at:

خدمة تحويل لوحة المفاتيح لـ

Arabic of course joins that ever growing list of languages for this useful tool....

It also highlights something important that developers do not think about as often as they perhaps should -- the difference between the logical order of the text and the visual order. The simple fact that you can use the Keyboard Convert Service to switch the text to that of an Arabic keyboard versus one in an LTR language relies on the even simpler fact that the typing of keystrokes (obviously based on a logical order) can do drastically different things, visually, depending on the keyboard used.

Of course learning this lesson did not require the Arabic localized version of the tool (this functionality has nothing to do with the language of the user interface). But it does help remind us that every version of Windows has full internationalization support!

# Jonathan on 31 Aug 2005 1:34 AM:

In Hebrew, there's a program that does this alreay - Bilbulon ( It claims to also fix accidental Caps Lock and visual vs. logical hebrew.

# Jerry Pisk on 31 Aug 2005 6:20 PM:

I do enjoy looking at arabic download pages yet I can't but wonder - why doesn't Trebuchet MS define arabic characters? Verdana and Tahoma do, so I can see the page just fine but the default Windows XP font, at least on US English version of Windows XP does not include arabic characters. It only includes Latin, Greek and Cyrillic characters. And I apologice about having characters/character sets/and so on mixed up.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 31 Aug 2005 9:48 PM:

Jonathan -- interesting! Especially about the visual/logical Hebrew thing (though I am hoping visual is almost gone now!).

# Michael S. Kaplan on 31 Aug 2005 10:05 PM:

Jerry -- Interesting point to ponder -- I'll actually blog about this soon. :-)

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