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CSS Writing Modes Module Level 3: The Future of Vertical Text?

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The latest draft of the CSS3 writing modules came out recently, and it includes revised specifications for how to handle vertical East Asian CJK text as well as specifications for RTL (right-to-left) text.

Although minimal support for RTL text has been around in recent years, vertical text remains a hurdle, partly because it's not clear which standards the vendors will agree to. The only browser I know supporting a vertical text spec is Internet Explorer, but it's layout specification was developed by Microsoft, and it does not appear that it is being adopted as is for CSS 3 (see proposed CSS 3 vertical properties for details). It also looks like a vertical text scheme for SVG is also being deprecated.

Will vertical text be possible across platforms? Only time will tell.

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Tutorial on RTL/LTR & BIDI in Arabic/Hebrew

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The tutorial technically Creating SVG Tiny Pages in Arabic, Hebrew and other Right-to-Left Scripts, but it actually provides an excellent explanation of how Unicode specifies text direction and how you need to encode both RTL (right to left) and LTR (left to right) in a Middle Eastern text which includes European words as BIDI (Bidirectional).

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Quivira Unicode Font

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I just discovered a new large True-Type Unicode font called Quivira from a German developer. It is based somewhat on Garamond, and includes a lot of useful characters such as Latin, Phonetics, Math, Greek, Coptic, Cyrillic, Cherokee, Currency, Box/Geometrics/Arrows, Old Italic, Gothic, Braille, Armenian, Hebrew and so forth.

The site is in German, but there's enough information for a user to get by using "Internet German", and as the author says "Quivira ist Freeware."

Download: http://www.grinningbit.com/quivira.php
List of Characters (PDF): http://www.grinningbit.com/files/Quivira.pdf

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Hebrew Computing Listserv

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If you are working with Hebrew, a helpful list may be the Hebrew Computing User Group on Yahoo. You have to join the list to see the messages, but they do cover a wide range of topics.

For other resources, you can check the Penn State Hebrew Computing Information Page (which, by pure coincedence, I edit).

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About The Blog

I am a Penn State technology specialist with a degree in linguistics and have maintained the Penn State Computing with Accents page since 2000.

See Elizabeth Pyatt's Homepage (ejp10@psu.edu) for a profile.

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