MozillaZine

Bidirectional Text in Mozilla

Wednesday December 8th, 1999

IBM has announced that they are fronting an effort to get bidirectional text into Mozilla, and along the way dealing with issues such as Arabic glyph-shaping. They are currently working on some docs that will be posted in the newsgroups soon. In the meantime, you can read the announcement.


#1 bi-di

by arielb

Thursday December 9th, 1999 1:19 AM

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YES!!! Thank you so much. This plus the independent mathml will really help me a great deal with a website I'm planning

#2 "Typesetting" in Mozilla

by KlausM

Thursday December 9th, 1999 1:39 AM

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This reminds me of two things I am missing in the current builds:

- Support for Adobe Type Manager in the Windows builds (I don't know what the status of the Mac builds is). I am wondering whether I should open a bug report for it...

- Support for downloadable fonts. It is a nice feature of NS4 - I used it e.g. to use our corporate font on our homepage or to display the euro sign, although the TrueDoc fonts do have some nasty bugs/drawbacks. Well, it's not Mozilla's fault that there doesn't exist a standard for this until now.

#3 Re: "Typesetting" in Mozilla

by SomeSmartAss

Thursday December 9th, 1999 6:53 AM

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The TrueDoc stuff is proprietary, so it probably won't make it into the Mozilla build. It'll probably show up in the "Netscape/AOL" version though, along with other proprietary bits (and SSL). Hopefully, it will be developed as a "plug-in", so you can simply apply it to any non-Netscape build.

#8 Gods, anything but TrueDoc!

by leafdigital

Friday December 10th, 1999 9:58 AM

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Though I think we desperately need a new font solution, TrueDoc ain't it. (Buggy, crap system anyway, proprietary.)

Microsoft/Adobe's "OpenType" (which isn't very :), as supported in IE, is actually pretty good, though not ideal.

Adobe are planning an SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) plug-in, once the W3C standard is announced, which will include support for proper typography as part of the vector-graphics support. This looks fairly promising as a partial solution (fonts in regular HTML are needed too, thanks!), but it's still vapourware: see <http://www.adobe.com/web/features/svg/>

Of course it would be preferable to see SVG included within browsers rather than needing a plug-in... Anyone working on this for Mozilla?

--sam

#13 TrueDoc

by KlausM

Friday December 10th, 1999 4:41 PM

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No, I didn't mean that _TrueDoc_ should be included in Mozilla/Communicator. You are right, TrueDoc in NS4 is slow, has encoding problems on Mac, does not work well with <b>/<i>/CSS etc. But maybe Bitstream has built a better version in the meantime. As it is propritary code, it will never make it into Mozilla. Having an open interface in GFX would be great. There is a project called FreeType (<http://www.freetype.org>). The group develops a portable font renderer (currently TrueType, I think they also plan to support Type1), which could be a good code base for Mozilla. Unfortunately, there are some patent problems enventually (see on their web site). In addition, having a font renderer is only half of the thing. Fonts are either of high quality, expensive and not distributable or of low quality and free.

I am a bit disappointed that the big type foundaries - Adobe, Agfa, Bitstream, Linotype, ITC, etc.- are obviously not interested in bringing fonts to the web. There are no visible advances. Even the corresponding working group at the W3C, which is AFAIK responsible for the font description part in CSS2, seems to have disappeared from W3C's site.

#4 Arabic support

by Mazen <mazen@artmagic.com>

Thursday December 9th, 1999 12:36 PM

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I was a Netscape user until IE5.0 came out with support for Bidi Arabic. I wish I could still use Netscape, but access to Arabic sites is just too important for me. There was an Arabic Netscape add-on from sakhr.com, but it crashed all the time.

I'm happy that Mozilla is finally getting Bidi support. This should be a given for a world-class browser.

#5 Plugin? Removable?

by spaetz <Sebastian@SSpaeth.de>

Thursday December 9th, 1999 2:12 PM

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I really appreciate IBMs efforts and think it makes sense to include this. But I'm an European languages only reader and like to have an as small and fast browser as possible. It is planned as a plugin, module or whatever? I'd like to be able to remove this for my part... Nevertheless good effort in the end.

#15 Re: Plugin? Removable?

by iaaron

Saturday December 18th, 1999 6:05 AM

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I design Hebrew sites for display in non-bidi aware environments, such as Netscape Navigator. What I do is flip the order in which the characters are displayed (instead of having the browser doing that). From my expirience, I can tell that adding bi-directional awareness to an application isn't going to consume any substantial memory. For right to left languages, it is something as basic and simple just as upper case and lower case support in latin languages. Hebrew speakers don't ask to remove the support for lower case and upper case letters in their Hebrew application even though it probably consumes even more memory than supporting bi-directionality. Do you use Office 2000? Do you know that office supports all multiple languages as it comes? Do you feel that on a day-to-day basis?

#6 It would be good if vertical text were supported t

by witbrock

Thursday December 9th, 1999 9:01 PM

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Although there isn't even, so far as I can tell, support for vertical text in Unicode, it would be very desirable for aesthetically pleasing rendering of Japanese and Chinese text.

Support for l-r, r-l horizontal and l-r and r-l vertical text in mozilla would be a neat differentiator

#9 Re: It would be good if vertical text were support

by jbeda

Friday December 10th, 1999 9:58 AM

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Vertical text is one of the new features of IE 5.5

#10 Re: Re: It would be good if vertical text were sup

by FrodoB

Friday December 10th, 1999 11:06 AM

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But only through a proprietary property.

#11 Re: Re: Re: It would be good if vertical text were

by Tanyel <tanyel@straightblack.com>

Friday December 10th, 1999 2:28 PM

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If Mozilla was programmed to support vertical text using the same format as Internet Explorer, would it still be proprietary?

#12 Re: Re: Re: Re: It would be good if vertical text

by FrodoB

Friday December 10th, 1999 2:54 PM

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Yep. It would just be a proprietary extension that would likely become a defacto standard and force the W3C to add it in the next version of the HTML spec.

#14 Vertical text is not 'proprietary' in IE

by CWilso <cwilso@microsoft.com>

Friday December 10th, 1999 7:24 PM

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Actually, that's not correct - Microsoft has been working on the standardization of vertical text in the W3C for oh, about two years now, in the Internationalization Working Group of the W3C. The "proprietary" property ('writing-mode') is a result of much work in that group and others, including Netscape representatives, and is described in the XSL draft (<http://www.w3.org/TR/WD-xsl/#AEN95>), and hopefully soon to be incorporated into the International Layout in CSS draft which currently references XSL (<http://www.w3.org/TR/i18n-format/>). You needn't worry about a standard developing by de facto - the W3C been working on a real one for some time now, and in fact Microsoft took a large implementation hit when after a year and a half of work in the Internationalization group, the property name and semantics of how it worked changed - and our implementation changed to match it.

#7 It would be good if vertical text were supported t

by witbrock

Thursday December 9th, 1999 9:05 PM

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Although there isn't even, so far as I can tell, support for vertical text in Unicode, it would be very desirable for aesthetically pleasing rendering of Japanese and Chinese text.

Support for l-r, r-l horizontal and l-r and r-l vertical text in mozilla would be a neat differentiator