RE: Re: Devanagari [was Re: Any web-published rebuttals to

From: Geoff Back (GEOFF@AUTOCUE.MHS.CompuServe.COM)
Date: Thu Jan 09 1997 - 19:51:36 EST

Yes, coding DEVANAGARI with Unicode is tricky. Yes, it's just as bad with
ISCII. However, try coding a keyboard input driver for GIST (the standard
*glyph* encoding) and see where you get to. It's easier to write the 3 or 4
thousand lines of code required to properly output the glyphs based on the

This comes from real-world experience - Devanagari is one of the many
languages we support in our products.

-- Geoff.

From: MAIL@CSERVE {INTERNET:unicode@Unicode.ORG}
Sent: 09 January 1997 08:45
Subject: Re: Re: Devanagari [was Re: Any web-published rebuttals to

At 12:31 AM 1/9/97 -0800, unicode@Unicode.ORG wrote:

>In Unicode's encoding of Devanagari, "half-consonants" have no
>characters associated with them, and neither do consonant

I take it you don't like ISCII either. The problem is you are
thinking like a font designer and not a text processor. Think about
the fact that there is no ideal coding that is globally optimal
with respect to all types of processing. A encoding which favors
display operations may be lousy for keyboarding or for string searching
or for word or syllable segmenting. And vice versa.

If you want to critique the current encoding of Devanagari, start by
saying what it gives up and contrast this to what it provides. What it
provides is a logical encoding of the script based on phonetic
ordering with implicit conjunct formation. What it provides is consistency
with existing coding practices (ISCII). What it provides is compatibility
with existing software systems. Why encode half-forms and conjuncts except
to satisfy font designers who want a glyph registration authority? If this
is what you want, talk to AFII.

Glenn Adams

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