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Is device font  _serif *only* used to display Latin1 and Cyrillic characters sets in FTE?

Apr 9, 2010 11:06 PM

Hi all,


My understanding is, that in Flash Player 9 and below TextField object was able to display any character from East Asian Languages  via device fonts "_serif", "_sans" or "_typewriter".


In new FTE that came with Flash Player 10  TextElement object seems to use device font "_serif" only for Latin1 or Cyrillic character sets.


For example, FTE is using "Simsun" device (fallback) font to display Chinese language characters and for Thai language characters, FTE is using "Angsana New" device (fallback) font.


My question is:


Why TextElement from FTE does not use "_serif" device font to display characters for Thai or Chinese language like it did it older brother TextField from Flash Player 9 and below?


The problem with "SimSun" or "Angsana New" fonts that they are not present at Windows XP OS (English) at default install configuration setup.     

  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 15, 2010 10:32 AM   in reply to JabbyPandaUA

    _serif is a bit of a red herring in the discussion: it's just a shorthand for a list of font names. So your question can be rephrased: why are there fonts which are included in the _serif list but are not used for fallback in TLF.


    We cannot afford to look inside every single font available on the  system every time FP starts, so we have to use only fonts for which we have a priori knowledge. We also decided to restrict ourselves to fonts that we know are installed (at least in some cases) with the OS, to maximize the likelyhood of having the same behavior accross installations of the same OS.Of course, that's limited by the fact that different installations of the same OS are slightly different and by the differences between versions of the OS.


    A minimal XP installation has simply no font that contains CJK ideographs.There is obviously nothing we can do about that. (If you get CJK ideographs displayed via TextField/_serif on a minimal XP install, please let us know).


    Tahoma is unfortunately problematic to use for Thai. It looks like an OpenType font (has a GSUB table) but does not use OpenType for Thai (it implements the old-style interface through the PUA). We do support the old-style interface, but because of the presence of the GSUB table, we do not use that interface. That's why we did not include it in our list of fallback fonts for Thai.


    If a user wants to display Thai or CJK ideographs, it seems reasonable to expect that they have installed the related XP components. At that point, our fallback should work satisfactorily.

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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 22, 2010 6:40 AM   in reply to JabbyPandaUA
    What about Miscosoft Sans Serif font?


    Same problem.



    And yes, plain old TextField within Flash Player 9 is capable to display CJK ideographs on minimal Windows XP English install.



    According to our measurements, a minimal XP SP3 install has those fonts (size in first column):


            367112   arial.ttf
            352224   arialbd.ttf
            226748   arialbi.ttf
            207808   ariali.ttf
            118832   ariblk.ttf
            127596   comic.ttf
            111476   comicbd.ttf
            303296   cour.ttf
            312920   courbd.ttf
            236148   courbi.ttf
            245032   couri.ttf
             79744   estre.ttf
            135984   framd.ttf
            152844   framdit.ttf
            214936   gautami.ttf
            155068   georgia.ttf
            141032   georgiab.ttf
            157388   georgiai.ttf
            159736   georgiaz.ttf
            137448   impact.ttf
            121452   kartika.ttf
            323980   l_10646.ttf
             73292   latha.ttf
             58740   lsans.ttf
             54320   lsansd.ttf
             60664   lsansdi.ttf
             59636   lsansi.ttf
            115068   lucon.ttf
            143864   mangal.ttf
             24124   marlett.ttf
            461672   micross.ttf
             40500   mvboli.ttf
            489884   pala.ttf
            434004   palab.ttf
            344288   palabi.ttf
            430800   palai.ttf
             57348   raavi.ttf
            234280   shruti.ttf
            221676   sylfaen.ttf
             69464   symbol.ttf
            383804   tahoma.ttf
            355680   tahomabd.ttf
            409280   times.ttf
            398372   timesbd.ttf
            239692   timesbi.ttf
            248368   timesi.ttf
            134108   trebuc.ttf
            123096   trebucbd.ttf
            131188   trebucbi.ttf
            139288   trebucit.ttf
            148624   tunga.ttf
            171792   verdana.ttf
            137616   verdanab.ttf
            155076   verdanai.ttf
            154800   verdanaz.ttf
            252820   vrinda.ttf
            118752   webdings.ttf
             81000   wingding.ttf


    None of them is large enough to contain a useful set of ideographs. (I did not list the bitmap fonts, which FTE does not use, but they are also too small). Do you have something else on your machine?



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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 22, 2010 8:38 AM   in reply to JabbyPandaUA
        It would be useful to receive this list of font names for Windows XP for "_serif" shorthand,


    I am told the list is simply "Times New Roman"; and:


    sans: Arial

    monospaced: Courier New



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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 27, 2010 10:17 AM   in reply to JabbyPandaUA

        I would put it simply - how older TextField component from Flash Player 9 is able to display Thai characters when there is no other device font present on Windows XP with Thai glyphs besides Tahoma and Microsoft Sans Serif fonts?


    TextField relies on the GDI to do the layout. GDI supports mixed fonts: fonts that use OpenType layout for some scripts and non-OpenType layout for other scripts. Tahoma and Microsoft Sans Serif are mixed font.


    FTE does not support such mixed fonts, or more precisely: if there is OpenType layout for any script, then we use OpenType layout for all the scripts. Our choice means that Tahoma and Microsoft Sans Serif cannot be used by FTE for Thai. We felt that the advantages of not dealing with mixed fonts outweighted the disadvantages. In particular, if the user of a system can read Thai, it is very likely that he will have installed the other Thai fonts.

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