Fonts

An effort of the Ahlul Bayt Digital Islamic Library Project (DILP) team

Introduction

In an effort to provided rich original Arabic text online to augment presentation content in English, the DILP team has developed methods and guidelines which helped make this  goal possible. Users of non-localized Arabic systems are, otherwise, deprived from viewing Arabic text on the internet, unless they download and install large plug-in programs to their browsers.  While the solution adopted at DILP does not solve the overall  internet multilingual problem, it does provide for an upwards compatible means for such presentation, until better standards are developed and adopted by computer companies and users at large.

Our technical goals aimed to provide the user (person viewing the material) a solution with minimal requirements on his/her part for downloading and installing software on their machine. It is event possible for some users at this time to view our Arabic material without having to download anything, using embedded fonts! There are several drawbacks to plugin software, not the least of which is download time, security risk, introduction of bugs into otherwise working applications, modification of other system resources and application behaviour. At the same time, we wanted our solution to work alongside these other plugins and as many versions of browsers as possible.   This shifted the load to the development side of things. Here we hope to show what it takes to develop and supply content in Arabic format. Although, this is not limited to the Arabic language, we have focused on Arabic due to the nature of our Islamic content.

Viewing Arabic Material on http://al-islam.org/

Please read the Arabic viewing instructions for download and installation of the latest version of Karbala Arabic font, developed by DILP.  The Karbala Arabic font is available for MS-Windows, the Apple Machintosh and UNIX platforms. No download is needed in some environments.

Viewing Transliterated Arabic Material on http://al-islam.org/

Please read the Transliterated text viewing instructions for download and installation of the latest version of Al-Arial transliteration font, developed by DILP from Microsoft's core Arial font.

Viewing Urdu Material on http://al-islam.org/

Please read the Urdu  viewing instructions for download and installation of the latest version of Naqsh Urdu font.  The Naqsh Urdu font is available for MS-Windows, the Apple Machintosh and UNIX platforms. No download is needed in some environments.

 


Developing Arabic Material for the Web

Arabic data entry

1.  Shareware software such as Parsnegar can be used to enter simple Arabic text, including diacritical marks. You can find the Arabic Keyboard and Karbala font configuration files for Parsnegar, along with instructions and examples, within the Arabic Content Development Kit for Windows.

2.  More complex text, including documents created using Arabic Word for Windows or other native wordprocessors, can be converted directly to HTML or Karbala font code using the Arabic Render software tool developed by Shaun Astarabadi. The document must first be saved as plain Arabic text (Windows format 1256 or ISO-8859-6) so that it can be loaded into Arabic Render. [This program is not available yet for public release.]

3.  We assume that all development is being done on a Windows PC.

Examples of On-line Arabic Material

Examples of Transliteration Font Usage

Tips for the Arabic materials Web developer

Other Software Development

We are constantly considering improvements to our methods of multilingual presentation. This page will be updated to reflect current technology in use at DILP, inshaAllah.

Shaun Astarabadi for DILP

Updated July 28, 1998