Arabic/Hebrew coding for the Mac

From: Theodore H. Smith (
Date: Sun Jul 06 2003 - 10:33:40 EDT

  • Next message: Philippe Verdy: "Re: Arabic/Hebrew coding for the Mac"

    Hi people,

    I'm having a real headache trying to code for Arabic/Hebrew text
    editing for the Mac. I'm developing a generalised editfield, of course
    I'd like it to edit Japanese too, but Japanese can run in the English
    direction, so that makes it a lot simpler!

    I really am in need of some kind of forum or group with programmers
    specialising in Arabic or Hebrew development on the Mac. I am running
    into problems that seem very hard to solve, especially with the lack of
    information and coverage on this.

    The problem may be conceptual, I am having a hard time visualising
    ATSUI's (MacOS's unicode display/edit API) modelling sometimes. I'm
    finding in fact visualising reverse direction text a headache.
    Especially seeing as I haven't seen code for working with it like a
    proper text editor should do, yet.

    Things like how does the paragraph selection work? This I find really
    very awkward... Heres an example (pretend these numbers and letters are
    Arabic, \r means return, ignore the spaces):

    In RAM: 12356789 \r abcdefg \r xyz

    Screen: 987654321 \r gfedcba \r zyx

    So if I select the onscreen from 2 to \r, which looks perfectly in
    order, then I am actually selecting a discontinuous range! But that
    doesn't seem right! There should be no need to, right? Is an arabic UTF
    document really backwards? So the first character in an arabic UTF
    document is actually the last onscreen?

    What really is going on here? What should be going on? Is my example
    wrong? I really can't do any coding on reverse direction text till I
    work out how these paragraphs are meant to be working. Its all really
    rather twisted to me.

    I do appreciate the problems here, in fact I made a theoretical
    exploration and found that if we ordered in visual order instead of
    logical, we'd just get a different set of headaches, not really less.
    Such is computing for real-world problems!

    Reply directly to me if you can please? At

         Theodore H. Smith - Macintosh Consultant / Contractor.
         My website: <>

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