Now that Unicode is firmly established as an international standard, software companies are no longer hesitant about steering their systems in its direction. But as companies rush to implement Unicode-conformant systems and applications, they often encounter pragmatic questions relating to fonts: What language-specific attributes are inherent in Unicode? What other issues must be taken into consideration in order to implement font support for Unicode? We will discuss these and many other questions related to fonts. With the system designer in mind, we will give working definitions for basic terms such as character, glyph, script, rendering layer, simple and complex scripts. Along the way, we will discuss frequently asked questions such as: How many fonts are necessary for full Unicode support? Can't there be a single font to handle all of Unicode? What does the rendering layer accomplish? What does it need to know about scripts, languages, and fonts? What common pitfalls can one easily avoid? This talk will concentrate on the many practical questions related to the bringing together of fonts and Unicode. By exploring a range of examples from various scripts, we hope to provide the system designer with a pragmatic foundation for the handling of fonts for Unicode.

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23 January 1999, Webmaster