An Introduction to Writing Systems: A review of script characteristics affecting computer-based script support and Unicode

Richard Ishida - W3C

Intended Audience: Managers, Software Engineers, Systems Analysts, Marketers, Font Designers, Site Coordinators, Testers, Web Administrators, Web Designers
Session Level: Beginner, Intermediate

The tutorial will provide you with a good understanding of the many unique characteristics of non-Latin writing systems, and illustrate the problems involved in implementing such scripts in products. It does not provide detailed coding advice, but does provide the essential background information you need to understand the fundamental issues related to Unicode deployment, across a wide range of scripts. It has also proved to be an excellent orientation for newcomers to the conference, providing the background needed to assist understanding of the other talks!

The tutorial goes beyond encoding issues to discuss characteristics related to input of ideographs, combining characters, context-dependent shape variation, text direction, vowel signs, ligatures, punctuation, wrapping and editing, font issues, sorting and indexing, keyboards, and more.

The concepts are introduced through the use of examples from Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Hebrew, Thai, Hindi/Tamil, Russian and Greek.

While the tutorial is perfectly accessible to beginners, it has also attracted very good reviews from people at an intermediate and advanced level, due to the breadth of scripts discussed. No prior knowledge is needed.