They called it the 'Surrogate IME'

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/04/19 03:31 -04:00, original URI:

A few years ago, the Chinese (PRC) and Chinese (Hong Kong) versions of Office XP shipped a new IME (Input Method Editor) that supported Unicode Extension A and Extension B, and a special version of the Simsun font that was expanded to support these characters, as well.

It was pretty exciting, for those who found it, at least. :-)

There was even a help file included, one that included information on how to use the IME and had code charts in various appendices.

Unfortunately (for those don't know the language, at least), the help file was only in Chinese.

At the time, a brave and daring vendor who was ruggedly handsome received permission to provide an English translation of the help file and decided to pay to have a localizer perform her magic on the file.

In our hero's mind was the problem of trying to display all of the Extension A and B characters when most people would not have the font. I didn't want a bunch of NULL GLYPHS to show up, and I didn't want to us images to display them. What else could that brave/daring/handsome hero do?

(well, it was me, so odds are you can scratch the brave, daring, and handsome parts with a clear conscience...)

Luckily WEFT (the Web Embedding Fonts Tool) was around, and using a beta version of WEFT 3.1 provided to me by BorWare after I had provided info on the bugs I hit (the original 3.0 version had some 'surrogates character' bugs in it!), I was able to create .EOT files for the site, and to provide three versions of the charts:

Later versions of WEFT (which presumably includes those bug fixes) is now available here, and that help file translation into English can be found here.

And in an upcoming post I'll talk about the (now publicly documented) embedding technology behind .EOT files. :-)

# Maurits [MSFT] on 20 Apr 2006 2:35 PM:

The Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox analog of WEFT is Bitstream's "truedoc"

Basically you create a .pfr file instead of a .eof and link to it with the HTML <link> tag...

<!-- This is how the font is downloaded in the truedoc method -->
<link rel="FONTDEF" href="">

... and then you can use HTML <font face="..."> or CSS font-family: ... at will.

Alas, nobody supports the standard CSS @font-face. :(

I'm looking at your translated docs from Windows 2000 and neither Firefox nor IE worked off the bat.  I downloaded the SimSun font from here:

By tweaking Firefox's default font I was able to get some of the characters to display.  I haven't gotten anything to display in IE but I'm still playing with the IE registry settings... not sure exactly what font name to use.

# Maurits [MSFT] on 20 Apr 2006 3:34 PM:

EOT format is public now? Sweet.  Maybe the world will at last see a cross-browser downloadable font solution.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 20 Apr 2006 4:15 PM:

Of course, if something is not using EOT files (such as FireFox?), you must have a font installed that will support them, and choose the "no fonts" links.....

Everything should work in IE with the EOT versions, though.

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referenced by

2006/05/13 Font embedding -- the intro

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