Looking for a Balinese (or other language) keyboard?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/01/04 06:01 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2006/01/04/508678.aspx

Abdul Halim asked me via the contact link:

Hi Michael,

I need a keyboard layout for Balinese script. I heard that Microsoft have commitment to implement all scrips in the Unicode Standard version 5.0 in their product. Have keyboard layout for Balinese script been available on Microsoft?

Could you please give me suggestion what the keyboard layout for Balinese will look like?

I am sorry to say that you have been misinformed; there is no commitment that I know of to support all of the scripts in Unicode 5.0 for any version of Windows, let alone for the upcoming Vista release. There are some scripts that simply aren't on a list that there is a sensible basis for doing all of the work to bundle fonts, rendering, etc.

And In fact, given how close the ship dates are for Windows Vista and Unicode 5.0, it would be hard to get support in for any language that requires support for an additional script in such a small time window -- the locale list would have to be locked down too far before the release!

Looking at the Unicode Pipeline Table:

1B00..1B7F 121 Balinese 2005-May-12
Stage 6

Balinese is slated for inclusion in Unicode 5.0 but not earlier, so it is hard to commit to its inclusion before it is officially in.

But of course no one is blocked from creating a new layout with MSKLC for any language or script that they want. And the research that Microsoft does to support the keyboard(s) of a language is work that literally anybody can do, as is the work to create appropriate fonts. All it requires for someone to do that work is knowledge of the language and its usage....

And if someone knows a language like Balinese then they presumably have some notion of what a keyboard should look like, even if that notion does not match what a native speaker might have preferred (sometimes such keyboards are called 'phonetic' when they map the sounds of a language that they do know the keyboard layout of to a language that they do not know how best to create a layout).

But in any case, the whole idea of opening it all up and getting out of the way means you don't have to wait for Microsoft here -- MSKLC is there for you! :-)


This post brought to you by "" (U+1b00, a.k.a. what will probably be BALINESE SIGN ULU RICEM for Unicode 5.0)

Leroy Vargas on 28 Apr 2008 7:02 PM:

Microsoft cannot work on a Balinese keyboard layout unless there's a Unicode-compliant font for Balinese - and currently there aren't any Balinese TrueType fonts out there for purchase or download.

Michael S. Kaplan on 28 Apr 2008 7:19 PM:

Kind of my point? Anyone who has a font, who wants a keyboard, can make one. And one can always build one just based on code points, too....

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