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Many years ago we developed some 'hacked' fonts for several Native American languages with Fontographer. With more unicode and OpenType support for OSX and WinXP we're looking at re-developing fonts the right way. I've been reading about the issues and processes and am using FontLab and Ukelele on the Mac and the WinXP keyboard tool on PC. I've visited with the folks at languagegeek to see how they're approaching the topic. I've read a number of Adam T's posts and am evaluating the various alternatives.
1. The tribal culture committees are looking for word processing, desktop publishing, possible web development and possible database work. It appears that we need to point ourselves to InDesign.
2. The documents need to be cross-platform for distribution to schools and various departments.
3. The culture committees are fairly specific about the character styles and they may differ somewhat from standard linguistic stylings and namings.
4. One language has approximately 60 characters and the other approximately 45.
What I've found so far...
1. Creating a composite glyph, with a non-defined PUA unicode index, doesn't seem to be supported by some Mac Apps (including Ukelele for associating the character to a key).
2. Using combining diacriticals (acute) with space modifiers (small 'w'...which we call 'rounded') doesn't appear to work properly in Mellel spell checking but seems to work OK in NeoOffice. In Mellel it sees the small 'w' as a new word character.
3. Positioning in FontLab doesn't appear to be two dimensional, so I tried the OT ccmp feature. However, that doesn't appear to be supported in some Mac Apps.
4. Some of the characters we need are at U+2C60 and up, but don't seem to be assigned to a UniCode range. I see them in the OSX charater palette but not the FL4.5 ranges.
1. Use combining diacriticals and space modifiers (and don't use PUA) to better support spell checking and the most number of apps. Live with poorer typographical displays.
2. Use pre-composed characters where available to support mutilple diacriticals
3. Use NeoOffice/Open Office for word processing and InDesign for DTP.
1. Which OpenType features can we use that are supported by the most OSX and PC apps?
2. Any suggestions on improving cross-platform typographic quality without using PUA and substitution?
3. Is there a way to support apps that don't use OT well and those that do? In other words, how can base support be provided using combining diacriticals and spacing modifiers and also provide advanced positioning and ccmp features for apps that use it and still maintain cross-platform/document support?
Any hints, tips or suggestions are appreciated.