IVS (Ideographic Variation Sequence) support in OSes

Finally. Yesterday, Friday, August 28th, 2009 is significant, at least for me, in that it represents the release date for Mac OS X Version 10.6 (aka, Snow Leopard). What is important about Snow Leopard is that it is the first OS that provides built-in support for IVSes (Ideographic Variation Sequences). Up until now, IVSes had been supported in specific Adobe products, such as Acrobat Version 9.0 and Adobe Reader Version 9.0 in the context of Forms, Flash Player Version 10, and InDesign CS4.

For those who are unaware of IVSes, they represent standardized Unicode behavior that allows otherwise unencoded variants of CJK Unified Ideographs to be represented using “plain text” that survives conditions that would cause rich text to fail. IVSes are registered via IVD (Ideographic Variation Database) Collections. The first IVD Collection to be registered at the end of 2007, was Adobe-Japan1, and is currently aligned with the Adobe-Japan1-6 character collection. See: http://www.unicode.org/ivd/

OpenType Japanese fonts can be IVS-enabled by building a Format 14 ‘cmap’ subtable. The AFDKO tools (in particular, MakeOTF and spot) are IVS-savvy, as well as DTL OTMaster (and the Light version).

One Response

  1. Sergey Malkin says:

    Windows 7 released in July also supports Unicode variation sequences. Although, it depends on how you define “release date” :)[I hesitated to mention IVS support in Windows 7, because it is not yet officially released, so I am very glad that you posted this comment. And, as you indicated in a somewhat subtle way, the support is a bit more general-purpose than IVSes, specifically UVSes (Unicode Variation Sequences). For that matter, the same is true of what Mac OS X 10.6 offers. The Format 14 ‘cmap’ subtable is not specific to IVSes, but is designed to be more general-purpose, thus UVSes. This is all good stuff. The Microsoft website states that the release date for Windows 7 is 10/22/2009. – KL]

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