RE: Tamil and Unicode

From: F. Avery Bishop (
Date: Fri Jun 04 1999 - 16:19:52 EDT

Windows 2000 will support correct glyph shaping of several complex scripts,
including Tamil, and will ship with a Tamil font. It isn't a great font,
because it's been optimized for legibility in menus and dialogs, not for
high quality desktop publishing. The plaintext display APIs (ExtTextOut,
DrawText, GetTextExtent*, etc) have been extended to support complex script
and provide one level of font fallback. This means if the glyphs required
for a particular script aren't in the currently selected font, a glyph from
a fall back font for that script will be used if available.

With this support you can create, display, edit, and print plaintext
documents encoded in Unicode or UTF-8 containing Tamil and other scripts,
using notepad, for example. There will also be a version of Office 2000 that
supports Tamil. I don't know the release date but it should be available
about the time Windows 2000 ships.

There is also a new API called Uniscribe that provides display and editing
features for formatted text containing complex scripts. For details, see

F. Avery Bishop
Program Manager, International Evangelism

-----Original Message-----
From: Jeroen Hellingman []
Sent: Friday, June 04, 1999 10:14 AM
To: Unicode List
Subject: Re: Tamil and Unicode

The question pops up once in a while. You can use the Unicode characters
for Tamil in your XML documents, but you will need software that is capable
rendering Tamil correctly, that is, using the correct ligatures of consonant
and vowels,
etc., if you want to be able to read it. The encoding would be the same as
for other
Unicode files. Unfortunately, very few software packages support Tamil
as of now. One product that does support Tamil in Unicode is Unitype Global
Writer, but
unfortunately, you still have to select a Tamil font manually when it
a Tamil character, as it won't do it automatically. I consider this a big
shortcoming, as
I need to switch scripts extremely often. (I evaluated it for dictionary
making, in which the
scripts switch several times for each headword.).


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