To GB 18030, Or Not To GB 18030…

One of the questions one may ask about the Adobe-branded Source Han Sans and Google-branded Noto Sans CJK open source Pan-CJK typeface families is whether they are GB 18030–compliant. Compliant? Sort of. Certified? Not yet.

Let me explain…
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Collections… …of the OpenType/CFF Variety

Let it be known that the “OpenType Collection” (OTC) format was born on 09/21/2011 at Pho Minh Restaurant in Cupertino, California. Present from Adobe were the following: David Lemon, Ken Lunde, Sairus Patel, and Read Roberts. Present from Apple were Antonio Cavedoni, Julio Gonzalez, Yasuo Kida, Peter Lofting, and Tony Tseung. — Adobe & Apple

The above declaration paved the way for supporting (CFF-based) OpenType Collections in Apple’s OS X (beginning from Version 10.8) and in Adobe’s applications (beginning from CS6).
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IMUG: The International Multilingual User Group

I have been involved with IMUG—this abbreviation originally stood for International Macintosh User Group, but now stands for The International Multilingual User Group—since the early 1990s, presenting in 1993, 1995, 1999, 2005, 2008, 2010, and 2011, but more recently I have been involved with hosting this excellent user group at Adobe.

IMUG is a user group that is intended for GUILT (Globalization, Unicode, Internationalization, Localization & Translation) professionals (some people use GILT instead of the more proper GUILT, perhaps because they forget that Unicode provides the underpinnings for GILT ☺), and their monthly meetings offer plenty of variety. In addition to a presentation from a seasoned professional in this industry, each meeting offers attendees an opportunity to mingle with other like-minded professionals.
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CJK Unified Ideographs in Unicode Version 8.0

This is an update to the short article that I wrote last August.

Now that it is officially 2015, and given that Unicode Version 8.0 is scheduled to be released mid-year, exactly what is expected to be included—at least in terms of CJK Unified Ideographs—is becoming clearer. Perusing the still-in-process UCD (Unicode Character Database) sheds much light on this. (I also recommend checking the pipeline from time to time.)

I recently updated the single-page PDF that tallies the CJK Unified Ideographs and CJK Compatibility Ideographs that are in Unicode, to include the latest information for Version 8.0, along with what can be expected to be included in Version 9.0 (mid-2016).

The highlights for Unicode Version 8.0 include nine of the 29 Urgently Needed Characters being appended to the URO (Unified Repertoire & Ordering) and Extension E (5,762 characters). The remaining 20 Urgently Needed Characters, along with Extension F, are expected to be included in Unicode Version 9.0.

Source Han Sans (and Noto Sans CJK) supports the first four of the nine Urgently Needed Characters that are being fast-tracked for Version 8.0, along with 108 Extension E code points for supporting China’s 通用规范汉字表 (Tōngyòng Guīfàn Hànzìbiǎo).

Source Han Sans vs Source Sans Pro & Source Code Pro

For those familiar with typeface design, there is no doubt that the Latin and Latin-like glyphs—to include those for Greek and Cyrillic—in Source Han Sans are based on Source Sans Pro. One may also wonder about the half-width Latin glyphs in Source Han Sans and how they compare to those in Source Code Pro. The purpose of this short article is to make these relationships and differences clear, or at least clearer.
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GB 12052-89: PRC Standard For Korean

While it was not uncommon for early (pre-Unicode) CJK character set standard to include characters that correspond to scripts of other languages or used in other countries, such as the extent to which Japanese kana were included in standards from China and Korea, it was not common for one of these countries to produce a standard for a seemingly different language. Enter GB 12052-89 (entitled Korean Character Coded Character Set for Information Interchange, or 信息交换用朝鲜文字编码字符集 in Chinese), which is a GB (PRC) standard that sort of broke this mold.
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Source Han Sans Development: Archaic Hangul

One of the reasons why Source Han Sans—and obviously the Google-branded Noto Sans CJK—can be considered the world’s first Pan-CJK typeface family is due to its support for Korean hangul. While it is common to support modern hangul in Korean fonts, supporting archaic hangul is relatively uncommon. One of the more challenging aspects of developing Source Han Sans was implementing support for archaic hangul, which also included handling 500 high-frequency archaic hangul syllables. This article will thus detail what went into supporting archaic hangul in Source Han Sans. I’d like to once again thank our talented friends at Sandoll Communications for designing the glyphs for these characters.
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GB 18030 Oddity or Design Flaw? (Redux)

As I described in an article earlier this year, GB 18030 artificially imposes a visual difference between Radicals #74 (⽉) and #130 (⾁) for character pairs that differ only in this component, though conventions for Simplified Chinese use a unified form that looks like Radical #74. In that article I pinpointed a case for which the character that uses Radical #130 is in error, because its left-side radical uses the Radical #74 form, and the corresponding character that uses Radical #74 is outside the scope of GB 18030 (at least for now).

Thanks to Jaemin Chung, I was able to find three errors within the scope of GB 18030, as shown below:

According to the principles imposed by GB 18030, the characters on the left are in error, and should be visually distinct from those on the right in terms of their left-side radical.
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East Asia Tour 2014

For the first time in my life, I visited three East Asian countries in a single trip: China, South Korea, and Japan. I have had trips that involved two countries—South Korea & Japan, China & South Korea—but never three. This particular one was also done in the span of only one week.

The purpose of this trip was to visit the three type foundries who were involved in the Source Han Sans/Noto Sans CJK project: Changzhou SinoType (常州华文) in Changzhou, China; Iwata (イワタ) in Tōkyō, Japan; and Sandoll Communications (산돌커뮤니케이션) in Seoul, South Korea. In addition to thanking each company in person, we also used the opportunity to discuss particulars of the project, in terms of what worked well and what didn’t, and I also demonstrated the processes that I used to take their raw glyph data and turn it into the final fonts. All three companies gave us a warm welcome, and were very gracious hosts. We had excellent lunches and dinners with all three companies, which allowed for greater social interaction.

Masataka HATTORI (服部正貴) from our Tōkyō office traveled with me to China and South Korea, and Jinho KANG from our Seoul office participated in the meeting with Sandoll Communications. In addition to Masataka, Taro YAMAMOTO (山本太郎) participated in the meeting with Iwata.
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IUC38 Presentations

This week’s festivities have thus far included attending IUC38 in Santa Clara, California. I presented twice, both times about Source Han Sans and Noto Sans CJK development.

For those who were unable to attend this excellent conference, the slides for my two presentations, Developing & Deploying The World’s First Open Source Pan-CJK Typeface Family and Building Source Han Sans & Noto Sans CJK, are now available.


P.S. The image shown above, which was used on page 47 of my first presentation to describe the Super OTC deployment configuration, became popular during IUC38, and was used by at least three other presentations. ☺

Source Han Slate

In the spirit of team-building and developing new skills, my manager, David Lemon, invited Chris Stinehour of Christopher Stinehour Design to give the Adobe Type Team a two-day workshop on letter cutting in stone. The workshop took place on Wednesday and Thursday of this week. The result of my efforts, which most definitely involved learning a new skill, is shown below:

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The Three Musketeers (三銃士)

Our most recent project, Source Han Sans, led me to much closer collaboration with our three-person typeface design and development team in our Tokyo office, which is managed by the Taro YAMAMOTO (山本太郎), with Ryoko NISHIZUKA (西塚涼子) as the primary typeface designer, and Masataka HATTORI (服部正貴) serving multiple roles, but mainly typeface design and production. The purpose of this article is to describe this team, with which I have worked for over 20 years on various projects, and its accomplishments from my perspective.
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Now that the Version 1.001 update for Source Han Sans (源ノ角ゴシック), in the form of sources and installable fonts, is under my belt, my attention has now turned to my IUC38 (The 38th Internationalization & Unicode Conference) presentation, which is entitled Deploying & Developing The World’s First Open Source Pan-CJK Typeface Family. Much of what was involved in building these fonts—to include some of the hurdles that needed to be overcome—will be detailed in this presentation.

For those who use social media, you can follow IUC38 developments via the #IUC38 hashtag.

Oh, and I am also pleased to state that Adobe is once again a Gold Sponsor of this event, for the eighth year in a row.

Source Han Sans: OTF, OTC, Super OTC, or Subset OTF?

Before I begin the series of articles about what went into building Source Han Sans, I think that it is worth writing a few things about actually installing and using the fonts, including how to determine which of the four deployment formats best suits your needs.
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(Uni-chan image designed by Mary Jenkins)

In addition to attending IRG43 (ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2/WG2/IRG Meeting #43) in November as a US/Unicode delegate, I will also be serving as the Adobe host for this meeting, which will take place at Adobe’s headquarters in downtown San José, California. It will be a busy week for me, because while I will need to stay focused on the meeting itself, I also need to be mindful of matters related to logistics, before and during the meeting. Extension F (called Extension F1 by the IRG) is in the process of being handed off to WG2, and work on Extension G (called Extension F2 by the IRG) is expected to begin in earnest before and during IRG43.

By the way, the last time that an IRG meeting was held in the US was IRG37, which was hosted by Google in Mountain View, California in November of 2011. Before that, it was IRG29, which was hosted by Adobe in November of 2007.

I am very much looking forward to the meeting, meeting with the delegates, and being part of important CJK Unified Ideograph work.

A commemorative T-shirt may be necessary… ☺

Pan-CJK Font Development Details

Unless you have been living in a cave or under a rock, you’ve no doubt heard of Source Han Sans or Noto Sans CJK through the initial announcements from Adobe or Google who jointly developed them, or elsewhere. These two Pan-CJK typeface families, which are joined at the hip because they differ only in name, were released to the world at large, as open source fonts, on the afternoon of July 15, 2014 in the US, which was the morning of July 16, 2014 in East Asia, their target audience. Click on the preview below to view a single-page PDF that shows all 65,535 glyphs from one of these fonts:

Over the next several months I plan to publish a series of articles on this blog that will detail various aspects of the development process that I employed for building these two typeface families. Although the subsequent articles will mention only Source Han Sans by name, they also pertain to its twin, Noto Sans CJK.
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From Russia[n] With Love

Although this article is not about CJK, its purpose is to describe how I was put onto the CJK path. I studied French in high school, but it was really my studies of Russian, courtesy of the United States Army, that eventually put me on the CJK path. Immediately after graduating high school in 1983, I entered US Army Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, which was followed by Interrogator School at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. The third part of my training, which was associated with my MOS (Military Occupational Specialty), Interrogator, was to learn Russian.
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2015 = Unicode 8.0

Given that Unicode has declared mid-year annual major releases, we can expect Unicode Version 8.0 to be released in about a year, in mid-2015. In terms of ideographs, we can expect some additions, specifically a small number of UNC (Urgently Needed Character) additions to the URO (Unified Repertoire & Ordering) that were discussed in the June article, along with Extension E. This single-page PDF provides a tentative look at the CJK Unified Ideographs, along with CJK Compatibility Ideographs for good measure.

Unicode Version 7.0 was release on June 16, 2014.

Please welcome U+9FCD through U+9FE9 to the URO!

One of the accomplishments at IRG #42 last month was the addition of 29 new CJK Unified Ideographs to the URO (Unified Repertoire & Ordering), specifically from U+9FCD through U+9FE9. The first four are shown above.
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Prescriptive Kanji Simplification

Twenty years ago this month, in May of 1994, I successfully defended my PhD dissertation, entitled Prescriptive Kanji Simplification, which concluded my graduate studies at The University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Department of Linguistics. Madison is located approximately 20 miles from where I grew up (Mount Horeb, Wisconsin).
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