Another three years have elapsed since I posted an update to the always-enjoyable Unicode Beyond-BMP Top Ten List, so I figured that an updated version—taking into account standardization developments that have occurred since then—was in order for the current year of 2017.
Today’s article provides useful details for our relatively small number of customers who author documents with our flagship Creative Cloud apps and make use of CID-keyed OpenType SVG fonts. A rather broadly-deployed CID-keyed OpenType SVG typeface is the open source Source Han Code JP family, whose development details are described in the very first section of this article.
While it is fully possible to build OpenType fonts—CID-keyed or otherwise—that include an 'SVG ' (Scalable Vector Graphics) table, the infrastructure to support them in apps is still maturing. That is the purpose of this article, so please continue reading if the details interest or otherwise affect you.
Earlier this month, I decided to move the Adobe-Japan1-6 character collection specification to the Adobe Type Tools organization on GitHub, which was partly motivated by constantly-changing URLs on our Font Technical Notes page. Another motivation was to make the specification itself easier to maintain. At some point, I will be adding a more complete list of Supplement 7 (aka Adobe-Japan1-7) candidates to its wiki.
To this end, I decided to do the same for the Adobe-CNS1-7 and Adobe-GB1-5 character collection specifications while on vacation in South Dakota. For the former, I also used the opportunity to update the specification to include Supplement 7 (aka Adobe-CNS1-7), by adding its representative glyphs and other details.
So, that’s three down, and one to go.
This is a very brief article whose purpose is to simply state that—due to recent events beyond my control*—the Adobe-Japan1-6 character collection specification is now an open source project that is hosted on GitHub as a new repository in the Adobe Type Tools organization.
Most of my morning was consumed by porting the original text from Adobe InDesign to GitHub-flavored Markdown, and, while I was touching the text, I decided to seize the opportunity to make several corrections and updates. The 500-glyphs-per-page representative glyph charts are now in a separate PDF file. I also used the opportunity to update the aj16-kanji.txt datafile, and also added the latest-and-greatest Adobe-Japan1-6 UVS (Unicode Variation Sequence) definition file. All good stuff, I think.
* Adobe’s IT folks apparently felt compelled to (once again) change the URLs for all of the font-related Adobe Tech Notes, including Adobe Tech Note #5078 (The Adobe-Japan1-6 Character Collection). Its URL is somewhat broadly referenced, including in the IVD_Collection.txt file of the latest version of the IVD (Ideographic Variation Database). The bottom line is that I needed a stable URL.
It is difficult to imagine that it has been over 20 years since a new RO—or Adobe CID-keyed glyph set—was born. Of course, I am referring to the static glyph sets, not the ones based on the special-purpose Adobe-Identity-0 ROS.
“RO” stands for Registry and Ordering, which represent compatibility names or identifiers for CID-keyed glyph sets that are referred to as character collections. Adobe CID-keyed glyph sets are usually referred to as ROSes, with the final “S” being an integer that refers to a specific Supplement. The first Supplement, of course, is 0 (zero).
One of my recent projects is to revitalize and modernize our Korean glyph set, Adobe-Korea1-2 (see Adobe Tech Note #5093), which was last modified on 1998-10-12 by defining Supplement 2 that added only pre-rotated versions of the proportional and half-width glyphs that are referenced by the effectively-deprecated 'vrt2' (Vertical Alternates and Rotation) GSUB feature. Instead of defining a new Supplement, I decided that it would be better to simply define a completely new glyph set for a variety of reasons. The tentative Registry and Ordering names are Adobe and KR (meaning “Adobe-KR”), and unlike other ROSes for which Supplements are defined incrementally, my current plan is to simultaneously define seven Supplements, 0 through 6.
I have attended every Internationalization & Unicode Conference (IUC) since IUC31 in 2007, and Adobe has been a continuous Gold Sponsor since IUC31. Unfortunately, duty calls, in the form of attending and hosting IRG #49 that takes place during the same week as IUC41, which means that I can neither attend nor present this year. Of course, Adobe continues to be a Gold Sponsor of this important event.
U+2F9B2 䕫 is a CJK Compatibility Ideograph, and like all CJK Compatibility Ideographs, it canonically decomposes to a CJK Unified Ideograph, and also has a Standardized Variation Sequence (SVS) that uses its canonical equivalent as its base character. This character also has a single source reference, H-8FA8, which corresponds to HKSCS (Hong Kong Supplementary Character Set) 0x8FA8.
So, what’s the problem? Put simply, its canonical equivalent, U+456B 䕫, is neither in HKSCS nor in its Big Five subset:
If this character is ever normalized—regardless of the normalization form—it is converted to its canonical equivalent, U+456B 䕫, which is not likely to be included in fonts that are designed for use in Hong Kong SAR. Furthermore, even if its SVS, <U+456B,U+FE00>, is used, there is a similar problem in that its base character is also not likely to be present in fonts that are designed for use in Hong Kong SAR.
Per a suggestion by a friend named Leroy, I recently renamed the multiple-style and multiple-family OTCs (OpenType Collections) in this open source repository which includes such OTCs that are based on the Adobe-branded Source Han and Google-branded Noto CJK families. These multiple-style and multiple-family OpenType Collections were described in this article from April of this year. The purpose of this particular article is to introduce better names for them besides Super OTC.
First, some background about Super OTCs…
Shortly after Source Han Sans and Noto Sans CJK were released, I came up with the idea of creating a single OpenType Collection that includes all languages and all weights, and the name Super OTC was coined. This was included in the Version 1.001 update (2014-09-12) as a fourth deployment format for both families, and each one included 28 fonts. These were expanded to 36 fonts when the HW (half-width, ASCII-only) fonts, which covered only the Regular and Bold weights, were added as part of the Version 1.002 update (2015-04-20). Source Han Serif and Noto Serif CJK included a Super OTC in their Version 1.000 release (2017-04-03).
There has been a flurry of IVD (Ideographic Variation Database) activity this year.
First, UTS #37 (Unicode Ideographic Variation Database) was updated at the end of January to allow characters with the “Ideographic” property to serve as valid base characters in an IVS (Ideographic Variation Sequence). This effectively means that the Tangut (西夏文) and Nüshu (女书/女書) scripts can now participate in the IVD.
Unlike Unicode, which has been on an annual release cycle from Version 7.0, mainly to provide predictability to the release schedule for the benefit of developers, national standards—particularly East Asian ones—are updated much less frequently.
The latest East Asian national standard to be updated is HKSCS (Hong Kong Supplementary Character Set). HKSCS-2016, the fifth version of this particular standard, was published in May of 2017. As a result, and for the benefit of font developers whose fonts are based on Adobe’s public glyph sets, I used the morning of 🇺🇸’s Fourth of July of this year to publish Adobe-CNS1-7 via the CMap Resources open source project.
One of my hobbies is apparently to explore various ways to stress-test Adobe products, and the target of today’s article happens to be recent adventures with Adobe InDesign and our Source Han families.
The background is that I produced Unicode-based glyph synopses as part of the Source Han Sans and Source Han Serif releases, but those PDFs show only up to 256 code points per page, and it takes several hundred pages to show their complete Unicode coverage. I also produced single-page PDFs that show all 65,535 glyphs. A Source Han Sans one is available here, and a Source Han Serif one is available here. However, they are not Unicode-based.
At seemingly every opportunity, whether via this blog or during public speaking engagements, I have made it abundantly clear that the Adobe-branded Source Han families share the same glyph set as the corresponding Google-branded Noto CJK families. That is simply because it is true. What requires a bit of explanation, however, is how the two typeface designs—Source Han Sans and Source Han Serif—differ. That is what this particular article is about.
As the Project Architect of these Pan-CJK typeface families, I have my fingers on all of the data that was used during their development, and for preparing each release. I can therefore impart some useful tidbits of information that cannot be found elsewhere.
To take the previous article further—and because I tend to have an urge to stress-test environments—I added two more Super OTCs to the Source Han Super OTC open source project this morning.
The release of Source Han Serif earlier this month, on 2017-04-03, gave me an opportunity to build yet another resource for stress-testing environments, particularly those that consume OpenType/CFF Collections. (This also continues to simplify file management by combining three Super OTCs into a much larger one.)
Early last August, I celebrated the release of Microsoft’s Windows 10 Anniversary Update (Version 1607, and also known as Redstone 1 or RS1), mainly because it represented the very first version of Windows OS to support OpenType/CFF Collections (aka OTCs). Alas, my favorite Source Han Sans—and now Source Han Serif—deployment format, the Super OTC that packs all of the fonts into a single and easy-to-manage font resource, could not be installed.
It seems that not a day goes by that I am not using Adobe InDesign CC.
It is my preferred document-authoring app, whether I am preparing a relatively simple single-page document or one that is much longer and complex.
Besides being the world’s first open source serif-style Pan-CJK typeface families, the Adobe-branded Source Han Serif and the Google-branded Noto Serif CJK also represent the first broad deployment of two highly-complex and related ideographs that are in the process of being encoded. Their glyphs are shown above in all seven weights. Although it may be hard to believe, the fourth line illustrates the simplified version.
Or, perhaps more accurately, the project that has been keeping me busy for the past couple of years.
The Adobe-branded Source Han Serif (named 源ノ明朝 in Japanese, 본명조 in Korean, 思源宋体 in Simplified Chinese, and 思源宋體 in Traditional Chinese) and Google-branded Noto Serif CJK open source Pan-CJK typeface families, which represent the serif-style counterparts to the similarly-named and also open source Source Han Sans and Noto Sans CJK Pan-CJK typeface families, were released on 2017-04-03. You can read more about the Source Han Serif release here (日本語—한국어—简体中文—繁體中文), which includes a six-minute promotional video.
This article provides information that you would not expect to find in the official announcements for Source Han Serif or Noto Serif CJK, mainly because such information is intended for a completely different audience, which is primarily comprised of font developers.
Unless noted otherwise, all further references to Source Han Serif or Source Han Sans will apply to Noto Serif CJK or Noto Sans CJK, respectively.
Perhaps as a continuation of this article from almost a year ago with a clever image, I’d like to use this opportunity to mention that the AFDKO tx tool is about to get a new and improved CFF subroutinizer.
The tx tool has actually had a CFF subroutinizer for quite some time, since late 2008 or so, which is invoked by using the “+S” command-line option in combination with the “-cff” command-line option, and while it was noticeably faster than the AFDKO makeotf tool’s built-in subroutinizer, there were issues that prevented me from using it, such as recursion depth and the inability to limit the number of local and global subroutines.
Based on my testing thus far—using my trusty 2014 Apple MacBook Pro—the tx tool’s new subroutinizer is over three orders of magnitude faster that the makeotf tool’s built-in one. Yes, over one-thousand times faster! CIDFont resources that once took hours to subroutinize now take mere seconds, and with comparable results both in terms of number of subroutines and reduced CFF size. The 65,535-glyph Source Han Sans CIDFont resources take approximately 30 seconds to become subroutinized CFFs, and the 23,058-glyph Kozuka Gothic Pr6N (小塚ゴシック Pr6N) and Kozuka Mincho Pr6N (小塚明朝 Pr6N) ones take less than 10 seconds each.
Anyway, the next release of AFDKO will include a version of the tx tool that includes this new and improved subroutinizer. Of course, the primary beneficiaries of this new version are those who build OpenType/CFF fonts that include thousands or tens of thousands of glyphs, like me.
In closing, I’d like to draw attention to the open source otfcc project on GitHub, which apparently provides similar CFF subroutinization results, in terms of speed and the end result.