Unicode display on Linux.

Richmond richmondmathewson at gmail.com
Sun May 19 06:28:16 CDT 2013


Unicode display on Linux has been a BIG headache for me for about 3 
years with no solution in sight.

The answer, perhaps inevitably, turns out to be very simple indeed.

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The Problem.

I have a textField called "OOTPUT" and add incremental unicode 
characters to it like this:

set the useUnicode to true
set the unicodeText of fld "OOTPUT" to the unicodeText of fld "OOTPUT" & 
numToChar(XXXXX)

where 'XXXXX' is a unicode address.

On Macintosh and Windows XP [ see rampant road rage about what happens 
on Windows Vista, 7 and 8 elsewhere ]
that works just as it should, and as each char is appended to the 
textfield end-users can see that.

On ALL the Linux systems I have tried that yields an - apparently - 
empty textField.

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The Solution.

The textField isn't empty, just setting the chars to transparent, or the 
same as the backgroundColor of the textField.

So, one has to do this:

set the useUnicode to true
set the unicodeText of fld "OOTPUT" to the unicodeText of fld "OOTPUT" & 
numToChar(XXXXX)
set the textColor of fld "OOTPUT" to "black"

and this has to be done EVERY TIME a new char is appended.

Don't ask me why, because I don't know.

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Of course this would not have caused me 3 years of teeth-gnashing had it 
either been documented in the Documentation,
or, had one of the supposedly "great" Unicode experts who strut their 
funky stuff on the Use-List and the Forums been able
to point this out.

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While I'm "on a roll" I feel like sounding off again about the Windows 
fiasco: it is a fiasco in several respects;

1. It really mucks up Unicode display,

and

2. Nobody on either the Use-List or the Forums seems to give a damn 
about it except myself.

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The Problem.

Windows Vista, 7 and 8 substitute Windows system fonts in Unicode 
textFields.

While this makes an aesthetic pig's breakfast out of things that is NOT 
the most besetting problem.

The main problem comes about when a Livecode standalone leverages a 
specialist font containing non-standard Unicode characters
stored in the Public Use Area:

Windows merrily substitutes all the Unicode chars it can substitute and 
leaves any non-standard chars displayed
in the specialist font, resulting in a foul aesthetic mismatch.

Windows also imposes its own font kerning rules, over-riding any kerning 
rules et up within an LC standalone ruining
font display.

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The Solution.

Dunno. Boycott Microsoft. Send Steve Ballmer a yellow rubber duck with 
"forever yours" written on its bottom.

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Richmond.



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