Syriac in WPF: WTF?

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2010/01/07 07:36 -05:00, original URI:

Over in the Suggestion Box, Vincent asks:

Why does Syriac display so poorly in WPF?

If you enter Syriac with vowels, the letters don't join as they should, often using the wrong form of the letter (final instead of medial or initial, etc.). The Syriac abbreviation mark doesn't function at all. You cannot combine a Fatha and Kasra on the same consonant. The tatweel won't join with consonants.

All of this is true in the .NET 4.0 Beta as well as the shipping version, so no progress has been made since initially reporting these issues over a year ago.

Syriac in WPF is just gibberish. The last time I reported these bugs, someone from Microsoft tried to blow me off by suggesting that Syriac wasn't a supported script in WPF, even though it is clearly listed as supported on Microsoft's website. What gives? The Office team doesn't have this many problems with Syriac, why can't the WPF team get it right?

Well Syriac is interesting here in that the shaping engine work first done in Uniscribe years ago did nit seem to get completely ported.

One of the major problems I have with WPF is how internationalization support is a line item which, while important, has to compete with every other line item, and it is hard to get enough attention sometimes based on potential market benefit when you compare to features that are considered "sexier" by which I mean more widely used.

In fact one of the reasons for the resiliency of Uniscribe is no one seems able to step up to support everything the way Uniscribe does - so in Windows Uniscribe is still the best in most cases.

Plus there are some other general Bidi issues with WPF that I'll talk about soon....

I can say whoever claimed this was not a problem is dead wrong, though I have not tried the absolute latest version of .Net 4.0's WPF here so if they have addressed this then someone try it and let me know.

Here is some sample text from the Syriac New Testament - grab from here.

Michael Williams on 4 Feb 2010 9:19 AM:

I've had a few problems with MS Word 2007 handling Syriac text...cutting off vowels and performing what seemed to be unnecessary workarounds.  See the result of my new concordance at:

Editor's note: the above link is to a book one might buy. This blog is not specifically endorsing its purchase and I would not want anyone to misunderstand that issue.... - Michael Kaplan

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