Re: Turkish support in abi.

Subject: Re: Turkish support in abi.
From: Paul Rohr (
Date: Tue Dec 14 1999 - 03:07:58 CST

At 10:26 AM 12/14/99 +0200, Robin Turner wrote:
>The language is not the problem, as it's quite easy to change the
>messages/dictionary etc. - the real problem (which I assume is
>what you meant) is the character set (...-9) which as far as I
>know Abiword still does not support.

We store all our content internally using Unicode, so theoretically we
should be able to support any language. In practice, however, there are
still a number of pieces which need to come together for full support of
non-Latin-1 languages in AbiWord:

1. Translate the menus, toolbars, and strings.
For directions on how to do this, consult the following file in our most
recent source drop:


As Robin says, this tends to be pretty easy, and approximately a dozen
translations have been contributed to date.

2. Obtain the necessary ispell dictionary.
Unfortunately, ispell does a number of tricks with hash files in various
languages that our code doesn't currently understand. Effectively, the
mapping from Unicode characters into whatever representation ispell uses
isn't well understood, and usually fails.

Those who understand what ispell is doing would have a much better chance of
making this work than I do.

3. Use platform-specific input methods...
... to make sure incoming keyboard events get mapped to the appropriate
Unicode characters. There's some code to do this now, but it was written
from specs with no way to test them.

Anyone with experience writing keyboard-handling code for these languages is
highly encouraged to set us straight on how to to a better job here.

4. On the other end, use font-specific mapping tables...
... to draw our Unicode content using fonts with other character encodings.
Again, Jeff did some preliminary groundwork to enable this feature, but no
serious design or implementation work has taken place yet.

>There again, I can't get
>Star Office to print Turkish characters either (no Type 1 font)
>so if I want to write in Turkish I need to use MS Word or Lyx.

Your other alternative is to find us someone who can help solve one or more
of the problems listed above. :-)

As I've tried to suggest above, we'd like AbiWord to do the Right Thing for
more languages, but there's currently nobody associated with the project
who's an expert in these topics.


PS: Fans of RTL, bidi, and Asian languages shouldn't despair. Our current
formatter engine is pretty basic and LTR, because that's what the current
team knows how to do. When experts in those issues surface and start
contributing code, we'll happily add those features, too.

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