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Saivaneri Web Tutor

Chapter 6  

Now is the question of multilingual web site. It is easy on the face of it, that is simply change the font of the web page to the language you want to use, done!. 

No, its more than that. First the same font should be available at the users’ computer also. And web means the users are from varied places, varied machines, varied software. So you can’t be 100% sure that What You See Here (WYSH) is What They See There (WTST)!.  

So you say we can provide a download link for the font we use at our site.  Fine, but suppose if the user is accessing your site from a web café, and Font download is disabled there?. Or, many users dislike painful downloads, or your web server bandwidth is so less that you can’t allow users stealing your bandwidth for Font download, or the Font you are using is a copyrighted one, which doesn’t allow you to distribute it?. 

Questions abound, but there is a better solution to this. As usual there are 2 solutions one is from Micro $oft  and the other is their Goliath the open source. 

The M$ solution is as usual only for the Internet Explorer and Windows platforms. The open source is more friendly, that is across the board -universal. 

Micro $oft WEFT (Web Embedding Font Technology) is such a tool. You can download this tool from the MS site.  It is used to burn the local font to a *.eot file (embedded open type). -Find it on CD2! 

While the other technology offers font burning to *.pfr file. The tool you use this is Bit Stream’s Web Font Wizard. You can download this tool from www.bitstream.com, or find both the tools at the second CD. 

While burning the font, you have to define the Root URL of the sites you want to use this *.pfr or *.eot files. This is very important, as otherwise any one may use your pfr file from across the web, which will cause band width drainage on your server. Remember to use the last trailing slash in the URL as this is indicating that all the files below this root folder can use the font file.

(e.g)   http://www.saivaneri.org/    ---the last trailing slash! 

So how to “load” this file on the browser?. This is also a kind of download only, only the user is not doing it, the PC is doing it!. You will have to use some tags in the HTML. 

<META HTTP-EQUIV="Content-Type" CONTENT="text/html;charset=x-user-defined"> //this tag is useful for defining user defined fonts
<meta http-equiv="Content-Style-Type" Content="text/css"> //this tag is must for cascade style sheet support

 For eot file you use the following CSS STYLE tag within <Head> </Head>

<STYLE type=text/css>
@font-face {
 font-family: Tamil_Avarangal31TSC;

 For pfr file, you use this Active X download tag within <Head> </Head>

<!-- start dynamic font description -->
  <LINK REL=FONTDEF SRC="http://www.saivaneri.org/pfrs/kumarappa.pfr">
<!-- end dynamic font description -->

<!-- start Bitstream WebFont Player support -->
<SCRIPT LANGUAGE="JavaScript" SRC="http://www.saivaneri.org/wfplayer/tdserver.js">
<!-- end Bitstream WebFont Player support -->

 or u can use this also.. 

<SCRIPT language=JavaScript type=text/javascript>

if (navigator.appName == "Microsoft Internet Explorer" && navigator.appVersion.indexOf("Windows", 0) != -1 && navigator.appVersion.substring(0,1) >= 4)




// Change the URL on the next line to point to the location

// of the WebFont Player on your server


        document.writeln("id=\"TDS\" width=0 height=0");





Apparantly for CSS style to work, the users browsers should support CSS. Which is common today. And for the second technology, browser should be enabled with Active X download. So for the first time when the user visits your site, the wfplayer (web font palyer) java script loads the active x *.cab file on to the users browser, which prompts “You are about to download this Active X Control from the www.bitstream.com do you want to continue?” Click Yes!. This is one time issue. The next time the Active X file is loaded from the users hard disk (C:\Windows\Download ActiveX Fies Folder).  

So you have seen that for eot file there is only one file is involved, where as for pfr file you need 3 files working in tandem with each other to show the drama.

  1. The *.pfr file
  2. The *.cab file –which is the Active X Compresses cabinet file
  3. The *.js file which loads the two previous files on the browser.

 So incase after uploading all the files to your web server, please note that you have done your job properly. Otherwise you can’t see Tamil or any other language fonts.

 Also not that the web server on which you run the site should have these MIME files included. Consult your web admin to change the MIME types.

 MIME type describes the “Allowed Extensions” for that particular web.

 What are the fonts to use?
To display both English and Tamil in your web site, burn a Bi Lingual Tamil Font like Tamil Avarangal.ttf or MylaiTSC.ttf or ThunaivanTSC, so by using a single font you can show both English and Tamil in your web page, and you can load only one font for viewing, which means reduced stress on the client side.

 If you use multiple fonts in a single page, then you have to burn multiple pfrs/eots also which means more pressure on the user side.

 Ironically the Microsoft WEFT solution does a lot of font loading even for BOLD/ITALIC/REGULAR styles of the same font. That means even a same font has to be burnt many times for many of its styles. This has a nasty effect on the user side.  

60% of the websites of the world rely on the open source Bit stream format. Because it supports all the browsers, and operating systems. Rely on M$ if you want.

 Some Tamil web sites use both technologies, while passing the pressure on the user side.

 The other best solution can be “FLASH” enabling your site. That is create the web pages in Macromedia Flash. As already we have seen, Flash operates on VECTOR format so that all the fonts, images are by default embedded on the pages. But using FLASH burns lot of bandwidth on the server side. Tht is you need a server with OC3 fibre optic back bone, and atleast a SCSI hard disk so that it cn handle all the stress. –BEST SOLUTION FOR THE FUTURE –BROAD BAND LIFE!.

 One more word on the ubiquitous PDF document. My advice –don’t do it.

The PDF is a portable Document Format developed by Adobe company. There are two things you need. One is Adobe Acrobat Reader to read the documents. Then the Adobe Acrobat Writer to write the pdf files. 

Adobe Acrobat reader is FREE while writer is on PAYMENT. So you can use some pdf Factory od PDF 599 freeware to create pdfs of your language –find it on CD2! 

Remember to “Embed” the fonts on the pdf page you create. Fast and easy.

PDF files also has many useful editing, linking functions. A PDF file can be distributed on the web like an email, but to display it on a web site, it is not the best solution, as it also consumes lot of client side power and also slow. IE 5 has inbuilt support for this document to be viewd on the browser itself 

So my advice is provide a download link to the pdf document, not a web page!. 


There is a Tamil letter 'e' (for irattai ilai) problem with IE. It shows a blank space for Tamil 'e' as this letter is used by keyboard by particular ASCII character.  

Nobody rectified this yet, but some patches are used, like the VB script patch used by chennai online.com (poor manipulation) 

or You can amend the font (copyright issue) by using any standard Font Editing Tools to suit your need.

Saivaneri did this solution - FAST, EASY - only you need to allocate a fancy key for 'e'. 

While typing in Suvadi or any TSCII based editor you need to remember this fancy key (for example you can use ~ this unused key for 'e') -this is on the web master side, so you can do it. 

But letting the VB script manipulation is bad, since, it does not gurantee 100% accuracy on IE or any other browser. 

c u on next


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