Some specs are always updated (eventually!)

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/09/01 03:01 -04:00, original URI:

A couple of days ago over on the VOLT Users Community, John Hudson pointed out some important updates that have happened for Indic fonts:

Microsoft have posted the new versions of their Indic font specs, which include changes for Vista and Office 2007 shaping and new script tags (older shaping is still supported, and by using both old and new tags it is possible to make fonts that will be take advantage of the improved shaping but still be backwards compatible).

Updates to the Bengali, Gujarati and Gurmukhi OpenType script specifications have been posted:

Here are direct links to the individual specifications:

Devanagari was updated a few months back:

Updates to Tamil, Telugu and Kannada are coming soon. Malayalam and Oriya will be added in future.

Of course there is always lots of pressure to get these things out as soon as possible, especially as they relate either to support in Uniscribe or support in fonts that ship in Windows and Office.

Not to mention updates related to clarifications and updates in Unicode. :-)

Obviously support in fonts that ship in Windows/Office are often known to some people outside of Microsoft -- like the people creating the fonts that have shipped.

But the process to write things up formally in these specs is obviously not an instantaneous one.

Though there are always font vendors and others who are very interested in this area, which I think makes this kind of announcement quite welcome....


The Unicode characters are out getting wasted tonight since they do not have work tomorrow. I think they flew to Vegas?

# Andrew West on 1 Sep 2008 6:11 AM:

"The Unicode characters are out getting wasted tonight since they do not have work tomorrow. I think they flew to Vegas?"

Only the American ones -- I'm pretty sure that FULL STOP, SOLIDUS, CIRCLED IDEOGRAPH CENTRE and TETRAGRAM FOR LABOURING are hard at work today. Though I understand that LATIN CAPITAL LETTER K has been hard at work causing mass suicide across the world.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 1 Sep 2008 6:36 AM:

Ah, the names only point to their birthplaces from their proposals; they are now thoroughly Americanized and very willing to take the time off when it is given to them. :-)

# Andrew West on 1 Sep 2008 6:48 AM:

Damn, and I thought Unicode was an international standard. :-)

# Ambarish Sridharanarayanan on 1 Sep 2008 12:13 PM:

Is there an easy way to find out what's been changed?

# Shree on 14 Sep 2008 7:56 AM:

Will the new tamil specifications support 'SHA' which has been added under Unicode 5.1? I find that some of the tamil unicode fonts have the character but it is not coded as Tamil letter Sha and hence is not being rendered properly.

It seems to render correctly in Notepad and Wordpad on Vista but not in Word or IE? Is there some way to apply the new uniscribe so that it will work with Microsoft Word?

Please forward this comment to other people involved in the development.


# Michael S. Kaplan on 14 Sep 2008 11:28 AM:

What version of Word? What fonts are you talking about?

# Shree on 15 Sep 2008 1:04 PM:

Thanks for your prompt response. The answer to your questions:

Word 2000

Windows XP

Internet Explorer 8 / Firefox 3

Fonts: Latha, Lohit Tamil, e-tamil-OT, ETTamilNew

It is difficult to explain the display problems without being able to attach an image. So, I have setup a page with additional details. Please see:

I'll check the pages from a Vista machine and post what differences I see there.

It seems to me that the choice of a default font in IE controls the default fonts in notepad, wordpad etc.

Also, it seems that any unicode text between <pre> tags gets displayed in the default font regardless of the specified font.

Are there different versions of Latha font on XP and Vista?

It would be nice if a new version of usp10.dll is also installed whenever a user upgrades Internet Explorer so that a lot of these display problems are automatically taken care of.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 15 Sep 2008 7:53 PM:

If you are using the <PRE> tag then al bets are off -- definitely take that off so you have a better chance of shaping things...

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