RE: complex rendering (was: Re: Mandombe)

From: Doug Ewell <>
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2012 08:16:29 -0700

We already know this about Naena Guru. He believes that using ASCII font
hacks, and pushing them onto your non-IE browser, is a better way to
represent Sinhala than using Unicode. He has said so many times; for a
recent example, see .

Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA | @DougEwell ­
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: complex rendering (was: Re: Mandombe)
From: Philippe Verdy <>
Date: Wed, June 13, 2012 11:40 pm
To: Peter Constable <>
Cc: Naena Guru <>, ""
<>, ""
<>, ""
Effectively, this site uses a "webfont" technology to install
dynamically a font named locally "Samagana" (in the website's
stylesheets) that uses a hacked encoding of ISO 8859-1 (or Windows
1252), based on a "sort of" transliteration to Latin (except that
Sinhalese letters are not really transliterated but first resolved
into glyph ordering, replacing contextual forms of Sinhalese letters
by distinct Latin1 characters as if they were glyph id's if this was
really a transliteration, then it would have no meaning at all and
would be almost unreadable as well for Sinhalese natives, as some
letters are replaced "randomly" or sometime appear in the wrong
reading order).
This is definitely not the UCS, but an old-fashioned font hack, even
if it now uses a webfont technolohy to distribute the font with the
content. But the site is not indexable, and not accessible for
anything else than visual rendering on PCs and some smartphones with
enough power to support webfonts... Note that most smartphones do not
support installable fonts (for security reasons) or even
"domain-constrained" webfonts (whose life persist in the browser's
cache and is not extensible to any other visited domain which are
sandboxed by the browser within its local cache).
And the site title will not appear correctly, just like any other
tooltips. And visitors cannot contribute texts in standard Sinhalese
if they don't use the same "Samagana" hacked font, plus a specific
input method and keymap (explaining which keystroke to use for each
contextual variant of the same Sinhalese letter: you need to use the
AltGr key or CtrlAlt for some of these variants, sometimes with an
additional Shift key...).
The Sinhalese script coverage remains also partial, there will be
missing letters or contextual forms with such hacked encoding.
2012/6/13 Peter Constable <>:
> From: [] On Behalf Of Naena Guru
>> I made the first smartfont for Singhala in 2004... all the browsers except IE render
>> the complex letters perfectly. (Er, Google Chrome, nearly there):
>> (hand coded)
>> and
>> (WordPress blog).
> Hmmm... neither of those sites appear to use Unicode-encoded Sinhala characters. Given that, I'm not sure what is expected of IE.
> Peter
Received on Thu Jun 14 2012 - 10:21:33 CDT

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