Introduction to the Unicode Keyboard-Character-Glyph Model: What you need to know about processing and rendering multilingual text

Edwin Hart - The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

Intended Audience: Managers, Software Engineers, System Analysts, Technical Writers, Testers, Web Designers
Session Level: Beginner, Intermediate

The advent of multilingual information processing with Unicode requires the designer to have a deeper knowledge of rendering characters for display and printing than is necessary for a single script, like Latin. Rendering technology that is adequate for one language of the Latin script, like English, may prove totally inadequate for high-end typography or for scripts such as Arabic or Devanagari. This presentation introduces a framework to characterize a character in terms of its information, associated shape (or glyph) and the relationships between these two attributes. It first describes the domains of characters, glyphs and keyboards, and differentiates between them. Next, it describes three different technologies used to render Unicode characters into glyphs. Finally, it describes several design considerations.