Re: Granularity of Unicode Conformance

Date: Mon Sep 27 1999 - 16:22:42 EDT

       Ed Hart wrote:
>From the perspective of a user of Unicode products,
       conformance to Unicode is very important. However, the degree
       to which a product implements the required Unicode functions
       and supports various scripts is an important topic not
       addressed by the Unicode conformance chapter.

>Yes, qualification by script is a better way to start
       analyzing Unicode "support"...

       [a lot of useful parameters applying to Arabic snipped]

       This is a step in the right direction. Things can be more
       rather more complicated, though, depending upon what one is
       needing to do. For example, MS Office 2000 running on Windows
       2000 promises to provide a very good level of support for a
       number of scripts, provided you are using those scripts for
       representing a limited selection of languages. If your language
       happens not to be in that list, you may experience a lot of
       frustration trying to use one of these apps.

       To take the case of Arabic, for example, it's one thing to say,
       "Our app supports the Unicode Arabic range", but it's a little
       more to say that it does so for Classical Arabic, for Morrocan
       Arabic, for Algerian Arabic, for Mandinka (about 1,000,000
       speakers in Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau), Jahanka (22,000 in
       Senegal), for Hausa (Ajami style Arabic script), for Kanuri
       (>3,000,000 speakers in Nigeria, Ajami style), for Mwani
       (~100,000 in Mozambique), for Farsi, for Kurdish, for
       Azerbaijani, for Baluchi, for Kurmanji, for Turkmen, for Uzbek,
       for Kazakh, for Kirghiz, for Uyghur, for Urdu, for Sindhi, for
       Hindko, for Pashto, for Kashmiri, for Panjabi, for Balti, for
       Purik, or for Tausug, to mention some. Each of these might have
       different needs in terms of input methods, details of rendering
       (different ligatures used, different character inventories,
       different font styles, etc.), and certainly would have *very*
       differing needs in relation to things like spell- and
       grammar-checking, and also sorting (as Ed mentioned).

       The same issues are repeated for many other scripts, notably
       Cyrillic and Devanagari. Even to say that an app supports Latin
       script leaves a lot unknown: e.g. does it support stacking of
       diacritics, as needed by various languages and especially for

       There's a lot that we might want to know about all of these
       apps. The biggest question, though, is whether any one of us is
       willing to start compiling all of this info?


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