Arabic and BiDi text management

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Nemo
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Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:33 pm

Arabic and BiDi text management

Post by Nemo » Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:26 pm

First, I'd like to thank you for accepting me as a beta tester.

Since there are so many testers (well, there are never too many of them :)), I tried to focus on only one aspect of the software: the Arabic and Bi-directional text management.

In the beginning, I tried to note down the bugs I encountered, but eventually gave up when I understood that the problem goes deeper than simple coding errors. BiDi support seems to be flawed by design, and I am truly sorry to say that :(.

So rather than delving in the details of the numerous bugs, I think it is better to start with a general view.

I have already tried to use Softmaker Office in a professional context, but couldn't because the Arabic/BiDi support was not on par with the rest of the suite's features and quality.

BiDi texts have always been a complex issue and a painful one to deal with, and although the Arabic interface of SMO is pleasant and seems to have been carefully crafted, I am sorry to say that the BiDi* text management makes the product simply not usable in this respect, either when editing documents or when reading/writing files.

Now my question is: from where to start the debugging process?

Thanks again!

*I can't say to what extent this issue affects Hebrew (no ligatures), as it probably does too.

martin-k
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Re: Arabic and BiDi text management

Post by martin-k » Tue Mar 31, 2015 8:40 pm

We spent a lot of work (admittedly several years ago, so something might have broken) on Arabic input and formatting support, so I am surprised to hear that it basically does not work.

Things to check first:

1. Be sure to have Extended Support for Arabic on in Tools/Options.
2. Don't right-align paragraphs but go to Format/Paragraph and set the Right to Left option there.
3. TextMaker recognizes if you used an RTL (Arabic, Hebrew) keyboard while typing and stores "hints" (this text was entered in an RTL language, this one not) so that it can better format numbers embedded in Arabic text.
4. We do shaping only for Arabic (and a bit of Hebrew) at this time, not for Farsi, Pashtu, Dari etc.

Let me know exactly what problems you are seeing.
Martin Kotulla
SoftMaker Software GmbH

Nemo
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:33 pm

Here is a sample report about some issues

Post by Nemo » Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:47 am

Dear Martin,

Thank you for your reply.

I wouldn’t say that Arabic support doesn’t work at all, but since the interoperability with MS Office is a key feature of Softmaker Office, there are some serious issues that prevents it from being used in that regard, which is a real pity.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here is a sample of what I did (see the attached files):

1- Open a new document in TextMaker.

2- Write one line of bidirectional text with a number.

3- Save the document as a .tmd file.

4- Reopen it twice to save it respectively in MS Office formats .doc and .docx.

Issues:

1- As bizarre as it seems, MS Word 2002 with the “Compatibility Pack for the 2007 Office system” can not open the .docx file. But it can do it IF it is already open in TextMaker (I didn’t try with a more recent version of MS Office). Latin-only documents don’t have this problem.

2- If I REopen the .docx or the .doc file in TextMaker and try to add diacritics to the Arabic text, they will be input as simple dots. This problem is absent in MS Office, using the same files of course.

3- .docx or .doc file: when trying to add a letter to a word, one that requires a ligature, the latter is absent. I then have to delete and rewrite the previous and the next letters to fix the script.

Three other attachments to come..

Thanks!
Attachments
يعتبر نوع الطيور Gallus gallus.tmd
(8.1 KiB) Downloaded 66 times
يعتبر نوع الطيور Gallus gallus.docx
(7.48 KiB) Downloaded 70 times
يعتبر نوع الطيور Gallus gallus.doc
(12.5 KiB) Downloaded 104 times

Nemo
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Dec 06, 2014 4:33 pm

Three screenshots

Post by Nemo » Wed Apr 01, 2015 2:54 am

To illustrate my prose.
Attachments
Ligature.PNG
Ligature.PNG (4.36 KiB) Viewed 1515 times
Dialog box.PNG
Diacritics.PNG
Diacritics.PNG (7.11 KiB) Viewed 1515 times

sven-l
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Re: Here is a sample report about some issues

Post by sven-l » Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:21 am

Nemo wrote: 1- As bizarre as it seems, MS Word 2002 with the “Compatibility Pack for the 2007 Office system” can not open the .docx file. But it can do it IF it is already open in TextMaker (I didn’t try with a more recent version of MS Office). Latin-only documents don’t have this problem.
Could be a problem with the outdated Word version. I tried it here with Word 2013 and it opened your attached .doc and .docx files properly.
Sven Leßmann
SoftMaker Software GmbH

sven-l
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Re: Here is a sample report about some issues

Post by sven-l » Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:25 am

Nemo wrote: 2- If I REopen the .docx or the .doc file in TextMaker and try to add diacritics to the Arabic text, they will be input as simple dots. This problem is absent in MS Office, using the same files of course.

3- .docx or .doc file: when trying to add a letter to a word, one that requires a ligature, the latter is absent. I then have to delete and rewrite the previous and the next letters to fix the script.
I will report these issues to the developers.
Sven Leßmann
SoftMaker Software GmbH

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