Sorry about another process post, but there were a few issues that I didn’t get to in my last post about Urdu blogging.
Win 98 issues
With a default installation of Windows 98 and Internet Explorer 6.0, you cannot see some of the Urdu characters on this weblog. It seems that Tahoma version 2.3 which is included with Windows only includes the basic Arabic characters and not all the extra Urdu ones. To solve this problem, I installed the Arabic language support for Internet Explorer from the Windows Update site. This did not fix the character issue, though it seems that it is required to display Arabic script properly in Windows 98. I then downloaded the newer version (3.0) of the font from Umair’s Urdu Blog. This fixed the problem in the entry body of the posts, but not in the entry titles or the sidebar. The reason is probably because the later two are using Tahoma Bold which is still the old version.
Since Windows 98 does not seem to support an Urdu keyboard, I downloaded Unipad, a Unicode Text Editor, and copy and pasted the Urdu text I typed in the editor into Intenet Explorer text areas for comments or a new entry. This seems to work well.
While I was struggling with Windows 98, I decided to change my CSS file by adding some more fonts to the
font-family attribute for Urdu text. The purpose was to have at least one font which has all the Urdu characters. Unfortunately, it seems that if the first font in the list (Tahoma in my case) is installed on your machine, the page will display using that even if it does not contain all the characters used. Those characters not present in the font will show up as squares in your browser. The browser will not try to locate those characters in other fonts in the list. This is the behavior in Internet Explorer 6.0 at least, which was disappointing.
I tried to embed the Tahoma font with the website, but in the end decided not to do that when I realized the drawbacks of that approach.
First of all, embedding of truetype fonts works only with Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer. It doesn’t even work with Internet Explorer on Mac. Secondly, if I embed the whole font, it results in a big file. I can reduce the file size by embedding only the characters used on the website. However, this means that I have to re-analyze the website after every change, using WEFT, and upload the new embedded font file.
To elaborate on the essential steps for Urdu blogging in the previous post, here’s what you basically need to do:
- Get your computer to type in Urdu either by
- installing the language pack from your OS, or
- using a Unicode text editor.
- Setting the character set for your weblog to be UTF-8.
- Defining some styles for Urdu and English for direction, fonts, etc.
If you blog mainly in Urdu, you might want to set the language and direction for the whole web page to Urdu. This can be accomplished by changing
<html> in your blog template(s) to
<html lang="ur" dir="rtl">. I think this will result in a scrollbar on the left instead of the default right as well.