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Re: Arabic text

From: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
Date: Fri, 31 Jan 2003 13:45:43 +0000 (GMT)
Message-Id: <200301311345.h0VDjhi02112@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
To: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org

> My limited reading of the subject so far suggests arabic might be
* particularly difficult to textify, and that the end user would require

IE 5.5 and WIndows 98 are sufficient, for reading.  IE 4 and Windows 95
probably are, except neither are supported by Microsoft, so you may not
be able to get legitimate access to the language support, if you haven't
already installed it.

For the bottom of the supported range, use Windows Update to install
the support.  Windows 2000 and Windows XP consider non-Latin script support
to be part of Regional Settings and it may be on the distribution CDs.
I've not been able to fully confirm the situation for Windows 95 SE and
Windows ME, but there is some circumstancial evidence that ME may follow
the 2000/XP model;  NT 4.0 should be treated like Windows 98, except that
it is natively Unicode.

Mozilla, on X-Windows, will make a brave attempt, but didn't/doesn't
understand the initial/finals/medials/isolated distinction.

Although I once learned the script, I didn't learn the language, and it
is a while since I looked at any page with Arabic content, but the BBC
World Service tends to be in the forefront on using properly encoded
characters, so would be a good place to start; if you have the right
automatic language detection option on in IE, it should even volunteer
to load the fonts for you when you try and access a valid Arabic page.
(I'm composing offline so can't do a quick check.)

Urdu is more of a problem, as the script variant normally used doesn't fit
the web page box model, as words slope downwards and overlap horizontally.

* special software. Is this correct? If a text version is not possible,
* what would be the appropriate alt?

Authoring tools, other than cut and paste or hand coding the Unicode might
be more of a problem if you haven't got a full licence for an Arabic
version of Windows (many developers may have it under an MSDN licence,
but that wouldn't allow this use).  I'm sure that Arabic word processors
for Western academics still exist though.

If you are dealing with Western academic users or ex-patriot users, you
may find that they are likely to be unaware of the extent to which non-Latin
scripts are supported by current operating environments and may be using
third party bolt-ons, or simply bitmaps.

This may well be wrong, but I think this is "Arabic" as a fragment of
HTML 4+ or XML:


Like many non-Latin scripts, native users may be under the mistaken 
belief that no character set code means use their favourite one, so
you may have to force the character set on some pages.  This is also
a problem for non-Latin script users sending or receiving through
web based email software, like Yahoo, as these generally fail to label
the character set outbound and ignore it inbound.
Received on Friday, 31 January 2003 08:47:18 UTC

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