[MPEG-OTSPEC] Defining the text shaping working group’s scope

梁海 Liang Hai lianghai at gmail.com
Wed Jul 29 16:35:06 CEST 2020

(If this topic confuses you, see the appended background introduction.)

In order to figure out the scope we care about, how about we start with maintaining a list of existing projects that are intended to complement the OT spec (and its semi-standard specs such as the USE spec)?

In terms of my personal concerns, one of the most important projects today is this documentation by Nate Willis, et al, which is focused on documenting how OTL should actually be implemented for each complex script, so developers can actually implement compatible shapers:

Documentation of OpenType shaping behavior

On the other hand, my main personal interest is about clarifying how Unicode encoded complex scripts (especially the Indic ones) should be implemented with OTL fonts. (Note the difference from Nate’s project, which is about how to shape texts using these fonts.)

I believe we need to document a reference interface between orthographical correctness and typographical concerns. The whole process from Unicode text up to this interface can be vetted by experts (especially for compatibility and reasonable fallback behavior) and automated by tooling, while font producers are left with a straightforward glyph set to fill. This will greatly improve reliability of complex scripts’ fonts, and also remove the unreasonable obstacle that prevents native users to implement their own scripts in fonts. Some knowledge collected during this effort should even be incorporated into the Unicode Standard, if it’s relevant and the community can achieve an agreement on it.

The current early draft is still very sketchy, but I expect to significantly update it and transform it into a tutorial-based document (because concrete instructions will be much easier to read) in a couple of months:

Indic text shaping for type designers

梁海 Liang Hai


Some context for subscribers of this mailing list who didn’t participate in yesterday’s meeting:

There’s a collective effort to seek a clear path forward for improving the whole text shaping industry (including the font formats)’s situation. Yesterday there was the first meeting, and the next meeting (open to all) is scheduled for four weeks later (25 Aug, 13:30–14:50 UTC-4). The following document contains yesterday’s meeting notes:

Text Shaping Working Group (working title)
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KoknOb0IMAPeiLhifvc_AqB7s3rs6VKOsTQg_oCDypQ/edit?usp=sharing <https://docs.google.com/document/d/1KoknOb0IMAPeiLhifvc_AqB7s3rs6VKOsTQg_oCDypQ/edit?usp=sharing>

By the end of the meeting we decided this list could be a temporary home for our discussions because of the significant overlap of interest. I hope we’re not spamming you guys.

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