Re: FW: Unicode-capable web browser

From: Edward Cherlin (
Date: Thu Jul 23 1998 - 01:04:13 EDT

At 2:10 PM -0700 7/22/98, Julia Oesterle (Unicode) wrote:
>RMIT University with two questions re Arabic and CJK Unicode fonts, and web
>browsers... any suggestions?
>Julia O.

Here are notes on the products I use or have tried in demo versions:

>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Trevor Clarke []
>> Sent: Tuesday, July 21, 1998 5:48 AM
>> To:
>> Subject: Unicode-capable web browser
>> Unicode Consortium,
>> Dear sir,
>> We are developers of SGML/multimedia database technology, and are
>> about to implement Unicode support.
>> I have two questions about the support for Unicode in web browsers:
>> 1. Is a UTF-8 font that includes Arabic and the CJK currently available?

UTF-8 is an encoding of Unicode, not a font or character set. There are
fonts for rendering various subsets of the Unicode character set, including
Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, or Korean separately and also all four and more
in one font. It is not necessary to have multiple scripts supported in a
single font in order to display them together. I find it pleasant to be
able to shift between Cyrillic Times and Garamond or Chinese Ming and Song
styles, while keeping Hebrew in Frankruehl.

Bitstream was giving away Cyberbit, with all of those and more (Russian,
Greek, Hebrew, math,...) for Windows. Windows NT 5.0 Beta includes Arabic,
CJK, and other scripts and input methods, if you can find out where they
are on the CD-ROM and how to use them. You can get Unicode fonts for more
than 20 scripts and about 100 languages, including Arabic, CJK, and many
others, as part of the Unitype Global Writer Pro word processor, for $49
total as I recall, and as part of the Alis Tango Browser, for a bit more.

Apple has Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean language kits for the
Macintosh, and several browsers are apparently able to use them all.

>> 2. Is a web browser capable of viewing mixed Arabic and CJK text
>> currently
>> available?

Netscape, Microsoft Explorer, and Alis Tango all claim to have that
capability in both Windows 95 and NT, when viewing pages in a supported
Unicode encoding (UTF-16, UTF-7, UTF-8), if the appropriate fonts are
installed in the system. I have not seen a properly encoded page including
Arabic and any of CJK, so I have not tested the claim. (If you know any
Hebrew- or Arabic-speaking Go players, send them my way, and I'll do a
glossary page for them.) Alis also offers a Unicode-enabled Web page design

>> I thank you for taking the time to respond to these two Unicode questions.
>> Trevor Clarke
>> Multimedia Data Systems
>> RMIT University

Edward Cherlin                        President
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