It’s hard to imagine that it has been nearly three years since I posted the always-enjoyable Unicode Beyond-BMP Top Ten List, so I figured that an updated version, which takes into account developments that have transpired since then, was in order for the current year of 2014.
Although today is April 1st, this is actually a brief non-joke article. Honestly and truly. (However, I cannot say the same about Toshiya SUZUKI’s WG2 N4572. ☺)
The background is that during my last visit to Japan, which was mainly to attend IRG #41 in Tokyo during the latter half of November of 2013, Kunihiko OKANO (岡野邦彦) requested an Adobe-Japan1-6 version of Adobe Blank during a dinner at a restaurant called かつ吉. The purpose of such a font is to serve as a template for font development purposes, meaning that its structure—in terms of ‘sfnt’ tables, FDArray elements, and number of glyphs (CIDs 0 through 23057)—is identical to a genuine Adobe-Japan1-6 font, but that all of its functional glyphs are non-spacing and blank, like Adobe Blank.
I am pleased to announce that the Adobe-Japan1-6 version of Adobe Blank, called Adobe Blank AJ16, is now available in the Downloads section of the open source project, specifically in the AJ16 subdirectory. Of course, this font is not intended to be installed and used in applications, but rather to be opened or inspected by font development tools.
Okano-san also requested Adobe-Japan1-3, Adobe-Japan1-4, and kana subset versions, which will soon be added to the “Adobe Blank OpenType Font” open source project.
As the title makes blatantly obvious, today we will cover a topic about China (中华人民共和国 zhōnghuá rénmín gònghéguó).
For those who are not aware, there are twelve IDCs (Ideographic Description Characters) in Unicode, from U+2FF0 through U+2FFB, that are used in IDSes (Ideographic Description Sequences) which are intended to visually describe the structure of ideographs by enumerating their components and arrangement in a hierarchical fashion. Any Unicode character can serve as a IDS component, and the IDCs describe their arrangement. The IRG uses IDSes as a way to detect potentially duplicate characters in new submissions. All existing CJK Unified Ideographs have an IDS, and new submissions require an IDS.
This article describes a technique that uses IDSes combined with OpenType functionality to pseudo-encode glyphs that are unencoded or not yet encoded. If memory serves, it was Taichi KAWABATA (川幡太一) who originally suggested this technique.
I was recently asked, indirectly via Twitter, about changes and additions that were made to our JIS2004-savvy CMap resources, specifically UniJIS2004-UTF32-H and UniJISX02132004-UTF32-H. The former also includes UTF-8 (UniJIS2004-UTF8-H) and UTF-16 (UniJIS2004-UTF16-H) versions that are kept in sync with the master UTF-32 version by being automagically generated by the CMap resource compiler (and decompiler), cmap-tool.pl, which I developed years ago.
Of course, all of these CMap resources also have vertical versions that use a “V” at the end of their names in lieu of the “H,” but in the context of OpenType font development, the vertical CMap resources are virtually unused and worthless because it is considered much better practice to explicitly define a ‘vert‘ GSUB feature for handling vertical substitution. In the absence of an explicit definition, the AFDKO makeotf tool will synthesize a ‘vert’ GSUB feature by using the corresponding vertical CMap resources.
With all that being said, what follows in this article is a complete history of these two CMap resources, which also assign dates, and sometimes notes, to each version.
For readers of this blog who engage in social media, please consider following @CJKType on Twitter. Of course, one of the purposes of @CJKType will be to announce new CJK Type Blog articles, but it is also meant to engage the user and developer community with regard to CJK- and font-related issues, and will also announce or retweet other items of interest to these groups.
As described in last month’s article, our tools engineer developed two Python scripts for assembling and disassembling ‘sfnt’ collections, both of which operate on TrueType-based source fonts to produce a traditional TrueType Collection (TTC) font or to break apart one, but also operate on CFF-based source fonts to produce a new font species known as an OpenType Collection (OTC).
The purpose of this follow up article is to convey the news that these scripts have been tweaked slightly, and have been included in a new version of AFDKO that was released on 2014-02-18 as Build 61250. One of the benefits of the integration with AFDKO is that the tools are now easier to run, as a simple command.
I would like to use this opportunity to introduce two new things.
First, OpenType Collections. TrueType Collections have been around for many years, and are commonplace for OS-bundled fonts. What I am speaking of are ‘sfnt’ Collections that include a ‘CFF ‘ (PostScript charstrings) table rather than a ‘glyf‘ (TrueType charstrings) one. The advantage of an ‘sfnt’ Collection is that fonts that differ in minor ways can be combined into a single resource, which can provide substantial size savings.
Second, brand new AFDKO tools, in the form of two Python scripts, for building, breaking apart, and displaying a synopsis of an OTC’s tables. These scripts were developed by our incredibly talented font tools engineer, Read Roberts, so all thanks should go to him for preparing them.
I spent a couple of days curling up with GB 18030 (both versions: 2000 and 2005), which is PRC’s latest and greatest national character set standard, and came across an oddity that my gut tells me is a design flaw. At the very least, it is an issue about which font developers need to be aware.
What I found were eight instances of CJK Unified Ideographs with a left-side Radical #130 that uses the Traditional Chinese or Taiwan-style form, instead of the expected Simplified Chinese or PRC-style form that looks the same as Radical #74. Screen captures from the latest Unicode Code Charts, whose glyphs agree with both versions of GB 18030, are shown below:
As the IVD Registrar, I am very pleased to announce PRI 259 (Public Review Issue #259), which is the combined registration of the new Moji_Joho IVD Collection and sequences for that IVD collection. According to procedures set forth in UTS #37 (Unicode Technical Standard #37, Unicode Ideographic Variation Database), the 90-day public review, which commences today, allows interested parties to submit comments, suggestions, and errors to the registrant via Unicode’s reporting form.
Not all PDF authoring applications are the same, in terms of the extent to which they preserve the text content of the original document. Of course, this is not necessarily the fault of the PDF authoring application, but rather it is due to a disconnect between the PDF authoring process and access to the text content of the original document.
The best example for demonstrating this is to create a document that includes the two kanji 一 (U+4E00) and ⼀ (U+2F00). The reason why these two characters represent a good example is because in mainstream Japanese fonts, mainly those that are based on the Adobe-Japan1-x ROS, both map to the same glyph, specifically CID+1200.
If you download and unpack the 4E00vs2F00.zip file, you will find two PDF files, an Adobe InDesign file, and an MS Word file. If you open the original documents and search for 一 (U+4E00), you will find only a single instance, which is the one that is marked by the Unicode scalar value. However, if you open the respective PDF files, you will notice a difference. The one that is based on the MS Word file now includes two instances of 一 (U+4E00), and ⼀ (U+2F00) is no longer included in its content. You can search a PDF file by Unicode scalar value by using the “\uXXXX” notation, such as \u4E00 for U+4E00 (一). (Note: Depending on the version of MS Word that is being used, the PDF file may instead include two instances of ⼀ (U+2F00). I am using Microsoft Word for Mac 2011 Version 14.3.8.)
Adobe InDesign has a built-in PDF library that has direct access to the text content, and is thus able to inject it into the text layer of the PDF file that it produces. MS Word uses a different pathway for producing a PDF file, one that does not have access to the text content of the original document.
For those who have been interested in ISO/IEC 14496-28:2012 (Composite Font Representation), which standardizes an XML format for defining font objects (aka CFR objects) that can reference more than one font resource and thus break the 64K glyph barrier, I am pleased to let this blog’s readership know that it is now among ISO’s Freely Available Standards. I am particularly pleased about this news, mainly because some developers have indicated that purchasing the standard effectively served as a barrier to supporting it. Well, the barrier has been removed!
Note that this change makes a whole lot of sense, because two ISO standards that are closely tied to CFR, ISO/IEC 10646 (Universal Coded Character Set, aka Unicode) and IEO/IEC 14496-22 (Open Font Format), are already among these freely available standards.
Also note that there is no direct download URL for this or other freely available ISO standards, because one must first agree to the no-cost licensing terms by clicking a button.
Some people naïvely think that ISO/IEC 10646 and Unicode, which are joined at the hip, make the development of national standards an obsolete practice. As my IRG41 contribution, IRG N1964 (Continued National Standards Development & Horizontal Extensions), makes clear, nothing is further from the truth, especially when it involves CJK Unified Ideographs.
The content of this paper had been brewing in my head since IRG38, and only recently has congealed into a concise one-page paper that should be daunting to no one. If you are interested in such issues, please read the paper and provide feedback.
For those who have read all or parts of my latest book, CJKV Information Processing (Second Edition), published by O’Reilly Media at the end of 2008, or who reference it when necessary, this article should be of interest. I did post all of these to my Twitter account on October 11, 2013, but I figured that it was also good to include them in a single article that is easily referenced.
In addition to writing the entire book, I also typeset the entire book, except for its cover. This included compiling the Index. This allowed me to inject a bit of humor into the book, to include hidden messages. While this article is not a complete account of the easter eggs (イースター・エッグ in Japanese), some of the more memorable ones are chronicled here. In other words, this article does not include a complete list of them.
While the finishing touches are being put on Unicode Version 6.3, which will include the 1,002 Standardized Variants that I already mentioned, everything appears to be on track for Unicode Version 7.0, which will be in sync with ISO/IEC 10646:2014 (4th Edition).
Extension E, which adds 5,762 new CJK Unified Ideographs, is on track to be included in Version 7.0. This will bring the total number of CJK Unified Ideographs to a staggering 80,379 characters. I spent part of this morning preparing an updated version of my CJK Unified/Compatibility Ideographs table that provides a glimpse at Unicode Version 7.0.
(Note that neither Unicode Version 7.0 nor ISO/IEC 10646:2014 have been released or published, meaning that implementers should keep this caveat in mind, hence the use of “glimpse” in the title of this article.)
As I described in Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 of this series, Standardized Variants offer a Normalization-proof representation for the 1,002 CJK Compatibility Ideographs, which are encoded in the BMP, and at the end of Plane 2. These 1,002 Standardized Variants have been approved, and will be included in Unicode Version 6.3. They will, of course, also be included in IS0/IEC 10646.
In an effort to provide to font developers advance support for the Standardized Variants that correspond to glyphs in Adobe’s public ROSes, the next version of AFDKO will include a new version of the Adobe-Japan1_sequences.txt file that appends entries that correspond to 89 of these Standardized Variants, along with Adobe-CNS1_sequences.txt and Adobe-Korea1_sequences.txt files that specify 14 and 270 entries, respectively, that correspond to these Standardized Variants. If you click on the file names, you can download the files and use them immediately. These are used with the AFDKO makeotf tool, and specified as the argument of the “-ci” command-line option.
The Unicode Consortium announced the release of UTR #50, Unicode Vertical Text Layout, today, via Twitter and their blog. Although I was involved in this Unicode Technical Report to some extent, any congratulatory comments should be directed toward its original and current editors, Eric Muller and Koji ISHII (石井宏治), respectively.
Twenty years ago this month, in September of 1993, something remarkable happened in my life. My first book, entitled Understanding Japanese Information Processing (日本語情報処理), was published by O’Reilly Media (called O’Reilly & Associates back then). It had a very distinctive cover, which is shown with the two subsequent books:
In an effort to make sure that the infrastructure to support UTR #50 (Unicode Vertical Text Layout) will be in place—sooner rather than later—I spent a significant part of last week working with key people within Adobe, and at Microsoft and W3C, to put together a proposal for a new OpenType feature, to be tagged ‘vrtr’, for supporting this soon-to-be published standard. Below is full description that we came up with, and which was submitted for inclusion in the OpenType Specification and in OFF (ISO/IEC 14496-22 or Open Font Format):
Friendly name: Vertical Alternates For Rotation
Registered by: Adobe/Microsoft/W3C
Function: Transforms default glyphs into glyphs that are appropriate for sideways presentation in vertical writing mode. While the glyphs for most characters in East Asian writing systems remain upright when set in vertical writing mode, glyphs for other characters—such as those of other scripts or for particular Western-style punctuation—are expected to be presented sideways in vertical writing.
Example: As a first example, the glyphs for FULLWIDTH LESS-THAN SIGN (U+FF1C; “＜”) and FULLWIDTH GREATER-THAN SIGN (U+FF1E; “＞”) in a font with a non-square em-box are transformed into glyphs whose aspect ratio differs from the default glyphs, which are properly sized for sideways presentation in vertical writing mode. As a second example, the glyph for LEFT SQUARE BRACKET (U+005B, “[“) in a brush-script font that exhibits slightly rising horizontal strokes may use an obtuse angle for its upper-left corner when in horizontal writing mode, but an alternate glyph with an acute angle for that corner is supplied for vertical writing mode.
Recommended implementation: The font includes versions of the glyphs covered by this feature that, when rotated 90 degrees clockwise by the layout engine for sideways presentation in vertical writing, differ in some visual way from rotated versions of the default glyphs, such as by shifting or shape. The vrtr feature maps the default glyphs to the corresponding to-be-rotated glyphs (GSUB lookup type 1).
Application interface: For GIDs found in the vrtr coverage table, the layout engine passes GIDs to the feature, then gets back new GIDs.
UI suggestion: This feature should be active by default for sideways runs in vertical writing mode.
Script/language sensitivity: Applies to any script when set in vertical writing mode.
Feature interaction: The vrtr and vert features are intended to be used in conjunction: vrtr for glyphs intended to be presented sideways in vertical writing, and vert for glyphs to be presented upright. Since they must never be activated simultaneously for a given glyph, there should be no interaction between the two features. These features are intended for layout engines that graphically rotate glyphs for sideways runs in vertical writing mode, such as those conforming to UTR#50. (Layout engines that instead depend on the font to supply pre-rotated glyphs for all sideways glyphs should use the vrt2 feature in lieu of vrtr and vert.) Because vrt2 supplies pre-rotated glyphs, the vrtr feature should never be used with vrt2, but may be used in addition to any other feature.
I will be attending IRG41 in November, meaning that I will be in Tokyo for the latter half of November. Airline tickets have been purchased, and hotel reservations have been made. This is made possible because Adobe is a Full Member of The Unicode Consortium. I enjoy every visit to Japan, meaning that I am looking forward to spending almost two weeks there.
One of my goals during this trip is to enjoy at least one lunch at ガンジー (静岡県焼津市), and one dinner at とんき (東京都目黒区).
Seriously, the primary focus at IRG41 clearly will be on Extension F, which is now in full progress.