If it isn't really Tibetan, could it pinch hit for Burmese?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2007/12/07 10:01 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2007/12/07/6671623.aspx

After I posted Every character has a story #29: U+1000^H^H^H^H0f40, (TIBETAN or MYANMAR LETTER KA, depending on when you ask), I had developer Dana ask me via email:

It looks like there was unintentional support for Myanmar in those earlier versions of Windows and of Jet and of SQL Server -- won't this work around your weightless issues for Myanmar?

Where is Myanmar used, anyway?

(I am not the dumb blond that the question might imply)

Not a dumb blond (hell, you don't look like one through mail but then photo identification is not required to post here!

But seriously.... 

Dana has an excellent point here; on its face, these bogus weights do suggest somewhat a support story for Myanmar to work around the no weight issue....

Not perfect from an actual ordering perspective, but certainly no worse than the solution I suggested for downlevel ancient Greek (ref: If you decompose those city elders, you might be able to sort them out!) or the new Romanian letters on downlevel platforms (ref: Putting the camel's nose in Building 24).

Plus the fact that she made this suggestion without even knowing what the script was used for? It means she has read a bunch of different posts here and has been able to understand issues well enough to formulate intelligent questions about areas not explored in the posts.

Plus she is interested in language stuff, at least enough to ask the question about all of this.

Dana, are you looking for a chance to maybe interview for a job here? :-)

With all that said, there are many blocking factors that keep Myanmar support out of Windows, especially pre-Vista, despite the anomaly Dana pointed out here.

Those blocking factors:

First of all, Server 2003 removed the support so they were once again weightless and remain so until years later in Vista.

Second of all, if you compare the list I gave in that post to the Myanmar Unicode block, you will find all of the following characters missing from those <= XP tables:

And then third of all there is the fact that the order will be wrong (like the problem with Greek/Romanian I mentioned earlier); not a killer because some order is better than no order at all....

Fourth of all, there are all of the characters that are defined in both but are combining characters in one but not the other -- this can make results look quite weird (if the above haven't done that job effectively enough already!).

Fifth of all, there is the lack of font/rendering/keyboard/locale support, of course....

Myanmar is also sometimes called Burmese, and there are Wassenaar Arrangement issues to look out for if one is doing work specifically for in-country rather than for people outside the country, but that has more to do with politics than engineering, and one should obviously work with one's legal department to figure out that area (as I get a headache when I try to think about that side of things!).

But in any case, it is an excellent question -- and proof that some if the readers here are very smart!


This post brought to you by(U+104e, MYANMAR SYMBOL AFOREMENTIONED)

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