Saturday, 9 October 2010

ISO/Unicode scripts missing in OpenType

Unicode 6.0 release is imminent (see, a year after the release of Unicode 5.2 (October 2009). Version 6.0 introduces three new scripts: Mandaic, Batak, and Brahmi. There are extensions to other scripts and many other improvements and clarifications.

An aside to anyone involved in HTML5 standardisation. It would be a really good idea if Unicode 6.0 compatibility were specified as part of the formal standard for HTML, and included in conformance testing.

OpenType is the de-facto standard for font technology and as such an essential part of implementating a script. The latest set of script tags (codes) for OpenType is given at (document last updated in January 2008 when checked today).

The current ISO-15924 list of script codes is given at

Unfortunately, some Unicode scripts are missing from the OpenType script tag list. This is long overdue an update.

The fact that Unicode 5.2 has not been incorporated in OpenType specifications a year after release makes for an unsatisfactory situation. I am writing to those concerned and encourage others to do likewise.

The following 15 Unicode scripts are missing from OpenType:

Avestan (134, Avst, Unicode 5.2)
Bamum (435, Bamu, Unicode 5.2)
Batak (365, BatkUnicode 6.0)
Brahmi (300, Brah, Unicode 6.0)
Egyptian hieroglyphs (050, Egyp, Unicode 5.2)
Imperial Aramaic (124, Armi, Unicode 5.2)
Kaithi (317, Kthi, Unicode 5.2)
Lisu (Fraser) (399, Lisu, Unicode 5.2)
Mandaic, Mandaean (140, Mand, Unicode 6.0)
Old Turkic, Orkhon Runic (175, Orkh, Unicode 5.2)
Inscriptional Pahlavi (131, Phli, Unicode 5.2)
Inscriptional Parthian (230, Prti, Unicode 5.2)
Samaritan (123, Samr, Unicode 5.2)
Old South Arabian (105, Sarb, Unicode 5.2)
Tai Viet (359, Tavt, Unicode 5.2)

As a footnote. Not available in Unicode yet, but of interest to Egyptology are:

Meroitic Hieroglyphs (100, Mero, formal proposal with WG2)
Meroitic Cursive (101, Merc, formal proposal with WG2)
Egyptian Hieratic (060, Egyh, no formal proposal yet , contact me if you have any ideas)
Egyptian Demotic (070, Egyd, no formal proposal yet, contact me if you have any ideas)
There are also some desirable additions to be made to Egyptian Hieroglyphs (I'd like to see something with ISO/WG2 in 2012 if not before).

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