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Indian language files in web pages

Indian language files to be published in Web pages are initially typed using the language fonts and the files are saved in html format, as is done with files in English. These files published in Web pages will need to contain a way for the viewers to read the files with the respective fonts, since the users may not have the fonts in their own systems.

There are several ways of doing the same. The language fonts may be embeded in Adobe Acrobat (.pdf), True Doc (.pfr), Microsoft Weft (.eot), PhotoFont files etc.. The viewers would then see the text exactly as we type it.

When some graphical information is included in the file or a file in which very few language pages are involved, then the .pdf files are most useful for web publishing. This facility is provided by Adobe Acrobat software utilities. While Acrobat reader utility is a freeware, Acrobat .pdf write software has to be bought by the developer.

True Doc .pfr files can be created using Bitstream font embedding software. The relevant software has to be purchased. This can be used in both Internet Explorer and Netscape. Microsoft WEFT software can also be used for font embedding to create .eot files. This is a freeware, downloadable from Microsoft site. This can used only in Internet Explorer. Similarly fonts can be embedded using PhotoFont font embedding software. In all such cases, these facilities are need to be used for Indian language Web sites, because the Indian language fonts are propritry and hence cannot be used freely.

In the second case, we say that the fonts are dynamic. The hosts are required to suitably insert the font information tags into the html files. At the time of viewing, these font files help the diplay of html files in their respective fonts.

 

Dynamic font embedding:


Advantages:

A. User:

1) User need not worry about the fonts, especially when he is in any PC, anywhere situation.

2) User can see the text whenever he is connected to the language web page.

 

Disadvantages:

A. User:

1) Since the language fonts are not installed in the PC, 1) The user can see the web files only when he is connected to the internet.

2) The User cannot download any information and save it into his system to refer or to use the same at his convenience.

3) The user cannot pass on any information interactively to the host.

4) The user cannot use the search engine effictively.

5) The procedure is expensive.

 

B. Host:

1) . eot or pfr files have to be created to place them in the server root directory.

2) Fonts to be embeded in to the html files using Bitstream or WEFT software.

3) Include font information tags in the html files.

4) Host cannot get useful information from the user, online.

5) Has to buy proprietary language fonts & font embedding software (if they are not available free).

 

It is also possible to provide plug-ins of the script enabling software with keyboard engine, which will be active as long as the user is browsing the web page. However, the user cannot save any language information since the fonts and the keyboard engine get uninstalled when he is out of the net connection.

The question now arises, whether it is possible to do away with dynamic font embedding so that any information available through the web site can be downloaded and used by the user. This is possible, if the language fonts/script enabling software are available free of cost. This no Font-embedding situation has the following advantages/disadvantages.

 

Advantages:

A. User:

1) User can download files from the web site to refer or to use (full or part) at his convenience, since fonts are always available in his PC.

2) pass on any information to the host interactively (if the font software is available).

B. Host:

1) Upload the HTML file. No font embedding, no loading of embedded fonts to the root directory of the server.


Disadvantages:

A. Host:

1)(a) Keep the font folder in the webpage with buttons & instructions or provide suitable links, to download the fonts.

(b) Install the fonts directly into the user PC.

2) Keep the linguistic software in the webpage with buttons & instructions or provide suitable links, to download the software.

B. User 1) If the host does not directly install the fonts into the `Fonts folder' of the user PC, then the user will have to download the fonts available in the folder made accessiable to the user in the site or through the links provided. But this is a one-time affair.

2) For user-host interface through web or internet, the user will have to download the linguistic software & install in his PC. This is also a one-time affair.

A. Host:

1) Download the required fonts into the user PC.

2) Keep the font folder in the webpage. Provide buttons & instructions or provide suitable links to download the fonts.

3) Keep the linguistic software in the webpage. Provide button & instructions or provide suitable links to download the software.

 

Advantages of Kannada:

The Karnataka Government owned Kannada Script enabling software NUDI, developed by Kannada Ganaka Parishat, is a freeware. Most of the fonts with NUDI can be used for dynamic font embedding purposes. Since the fonts and the software are available free, these can be used in the no font-embedding situation as well. Regarding R&D, it is a continuing activity to move with the changing technological conditions, mainly so with NUDI. As per the requirements, new features will get implemented in NUDI, of course maintaining compatibility with earlier versions. Futher, it is to be noted that enthusiatic and innovative font developers can develop any number of fonts for NUDI engine using standard software like Fontographer, Fontlab, Font creator etc.

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