Re: New MS Mac Office and Unicode?

From: Peter Kirk (
Date: Wed Jan 14 2004 - 14:44:43 EST

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    On 14/01/2004 10:31, C J Fynn wrote:

    > It looks, from this list, like most of the pre-composed Latin
    > characters will be supported (though no mention of Vietnamese) as
    > will Cyrillic, Greek, Chinese, Japanese & Korean scripts. Since non of
    > the listed languages need to use combining characters, I take it that
    > it is unlikely there are plans to support
    > these in this release. The biggest holes in the list seem to
    > be languages
    > which use Arabic, Hebrew, all the Indic scripts and all SE Asian
    > scripts.
    > So, I think this can be read as "there will be support for Unicode but
    > there
    > will be no support for complex-script layout"
    > - Chris

    No mention either of Azerbaijani (Latin or Cyrillic), Kazakh, or any
    minority languages of the CIS; nor of anything African. This suggests to
    me that support of Latin and Cyrillic (probably of Greek too) is
    restricted to the characters in predefined character sets.

    Perhaps I should explain a bit in case some people find me needlessly
    negative. As I understand it, the existing Mac Word uses Unicode
    internally, and for its storage format which is compatible with that of
    Word for Windows. But there are two major limitations. The first is with
    keyboarding. The second is that the only Unicode characters which can be
    displayed (even in documents prepared on Windows and opened on the Mac)
    are those included in certain pre-defined character sets, because the
    rendering engine maps characters into those sets for rendering.

    It seems to me, from what I have seen promised for Office 2004, that
    Microsoft is making major improvements in the former area, which may
    allow any Unicode character to be entered, and these changes are very
    welcome. But there is no sign or suggestion of major changes to the
    rendering engine. All I see suggested is some minor changes around the
    edges, perhaps to squeeze a few extra characters into the existing
    charater sets, perhaps to include a few extra character sets. But unless
    the restriction to predefined and mostly small character sets has been
    lifted (and there is no sign that it has), the only characters which can
    be rendered are those in a rather limited subset, not even including all
    precomposed Latin, Cyrillic and Greek, and certainly not including PUA.
    All other characters, if entered, will be displayed as boxes, or
    question marks or something. As I said before, I hope I'm wrong, but I
    won't expect major changes to the rendering engine unless there is some
    indication from Microsoft that it is on the way.

    Peter Kirk (personal) (work)

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