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Re: Arabisation and character sets

From: Ahmed Sallam <asa@sakhr.com>
Date: Thu, 02 Apr 1998 12:19:15 +0300
Message-Id: <35235812.CF962C8D@SAKHR.COM>
To: Francois Yergeau <yergeau@alis.com>
Cc: Reinier van Kleij <rklei@acm.org>, www-international@w3.org
Francois Yergeau wrote:

> @ 11:33 01-04-98 +0200, Reinier van Kleij a icrit :
> >Yeah, but the philosophy behind the (Netscape) browser was to get rid of
> >the OS's peculiarities, right?
> More or less, yes.  But they still depend a lot on platform capabilities.

To have a multilingual application you have either two options, either you rely on
a multilingual platform, which is not available till the moment (until Microsoft
releases Win NT 5.0) or to implement the language support within your application

The major disadvantage of the second approach is that you have to reimplement the
whole system components needed in your application like list boxes, combo boxes,
editors, etc. Which is not practical at least you will loose the look and feel of
the OS and become non standard.

The ultimate solution is to have the multilingual platform or localize the
platform for your language if it is not supported (Arabic language is supported
only in Arabic Win 95 and Arabic Win NT) and develop your application in a
standard way, using standard system classes, fonts, etc. Although this approach is
tough on the engineering level as it requires a lot of system engineering skills
but this  is the approach we followed in building Sindbad.

> >Netscape should not assume that all files it reads are
> >saved with the character set of the OS it runs on...
> They don't, fortunately, otherwise even Latin-1 pages wouldn't display
> properly on the Mac.
> >Again it seems that IE is a little more "democratic" than Netscape: at
> >least it recognizes the Content-type tag, so it does not force us to use
> >the MS code page 1256...
> Don't be too hard on them!  Netscape does recognize the Content-Type, it's
> just that they don't support Arabic or Hebrew charsets at all.  For these
> character sets, Netscape depends totally on platform capabilities, and this
> is very insufficient, not only in terms of charsets.  I've already
> mentionned word order when a line consists of more than one element.  Bidi
> scripts require support in the application, not only from the OS.  Tango
> provides that, MSIE-Arabic too, we have been told, but not Netscape.  Too bad.

Why too bad, there is a solution for supporting Arabic language over Netscape.
It's Sindbad from Sakhr Software, it is a well known Arabic shell for Netscape
Client products including Navigator 3.x, Navigator 4.x and Communicator 4.x with
full adoption for RFC 2070. (last version is available for free download on

Netscape client products have been well designed and implemented to utilize the
multilingual features in Win 32 platforms. But definitely still more handling is
required on the application level, which we cover transparently by Sindbad to
provide the Arabic language support.

Sindbad is a generic Arabization technology that works transparently cross
Netscape client products. It is available over any single byte version of Win 9x
(Win 95 and Win 98). Support for other platforms is dependent on the market
demand. We are working to provide Sindbad for Win NT.

Best regards.

Received on Thursday, 2 April 1998 05:46:07 UTC

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