30 A Brief Introduction to Malayalam Computing
As much as there are software in the marketplace for typing in Malayalam, there are challenges too. It is all about the choice of right system in the right place that makes all the difference.
A little learning about the language and resources is essential so that you know how to use them.
Unicode is the standard that creates a unified system for languages across the globe. Malayalam is also a part of this Unicode system. You can learn more about Unicode by refering the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unicode
Let us learn about how to use Unicode implementation of Malayalam.
For latest Windows, Mac or Linux versions, unicode is already implemented within the operating system. However, for Windows XP or older versions, you need to explicitly enable support of unicode. You need the Windows Setup Disk to install and configure Malayalam support: http://malayalam.kerala.gov.in/index.php/EnableMalayalam
IMPORTANT: To use unicode fonts, the software must be unicode compliant.
Malayalam Unicode can be used for most of the requirements like:
» Google search in Malayalam.
» Chatting in Malayalam using chat client software.
» Blogging in Malayalam.
» Using Malayalam in Facebook.
» Writing e-mails in Malayalam.
» Writing feedbacks in Malayalam.
» For use in Windows filenames.
» Typing in MS-Word, MS-Excel in Unicode fonts.
For word processing, desktop publishing, etc., you may need artistic font faces. Such fonts are available as Unicode fonts and Graphic fonts.
While Unicode fonts use unicode system for mapping characters, Graphic fonts use Basic Latin and Latin extensions for mapping characters. Graphic fonts use proprietary character placements and varies between different font manufacturers.
Popular Malayalam fonts are listed below:
Unicode TTF fonts
AnjaliOldLipi, Meera, Rachana, Rachana_w01, RaghuMalayalam, Suruma
ML-TTAathira, ML-TTAmbili, ML-TTAnakha, ML-TTAnjali, ML-TTAparna, ML-TTAshtamudi, ML-TTAshtamudiExBold, ML-TTAswathi, ML-TTAtchu, ML-TTAyilyamBold, ML-TTBeckalBold, ML-TTChandrika, ML-TTChithira, ML-TTChithiraHeavy, ML-TTDevika, ML-TTGauri, ML-TTGauriHeavy, ML-TTGeethika, ML-TTGopika, ML-TTGuruvayur, ML-TTIndulekha, ML-TTIndulekhaHeavy, ML-TTJaya, ML-TTJyothy, ML-TTJyotsna, ML-TTKala, ML-TTKamini, ML-TTKanika, ML-TTKarthika, ML-TTKaumudi, ML-TTKeerthi, ML-TTLeela, ML-TTLeelaHeavy, ML-TTMadhaviExBold, ML-TTMalavika, ML-TTMangalaExBold, ML-TTMangalaExBold , ML-TTMayoori, ML-TTNalini, ML-TTNandini, ML-TTNanditha, ML-TTNarmadaExBold, ML-TTNila, ML-TTOnam, ML-TTPeriyar, ML-TTPooram, ML-TTPoornima, ML-TTRavivarma, ML-TTRevathi, ML-TTRohini, ML-TTSabari, ML-TTSankara, ML-TTSarada, ML-TTSruthy, ML-TTSugatha, ML-TTSuparna, ML-TTSurya, ML-TTSwathyBold, ML-TTThakazhi, ML-TTTheyyam, ML-TTThiruvathira, ML-TTThunchan, ML-TTVaisali, ML-TTVarsha, ML-TTVeenaHeavy, ML-TTVinay, ML-TTVisakham, ML-TTVishu, ML-TTYashasri
GIST-MLTTAmbili, GIST-MLTTAshtamudi, GIST-MLTTAswathi, GIST-MLTTBhanu, GIST-MLTTChippi, GIST-MLTTKarthika, GIST-MLTTKaumudi, GIST-MLTTKottakkal, GIST-MLTTMakam, GIST-MLTTMalavika, GIST-MLTTMridula, GIST-MLTTPayippad, GIST-MLTTPeriyar, GIST-MLTTRevathi, GIST-MLTTSabari, GIST-MLTTSruthy
Jacobs -Mal-Swis, Jacobs-Mal Outline 2, Jacobs-Mal-Bold, Jacobs-Mal-Condensed, Jacobs-Mal-Decorated 1, Jacobs-Mal-Decorated 2, Jacobs-Mal-Decorated 3, Jacobs-Mal-Deepthi, Jacobs-Mal-dotted, Jacobs-Mal-Flowers, Jacobs-Mal-Graphic 1, Jacobs-Mal-Graphic 2, Jacobs-Mal-Handwriting, Jacobs-Mal-Handwriting 2, Jacobs-Mal-Handwriting 3, Jacobs-Mal-Hollow, Jacobs-Mal-Light, JACOBS-Mal-Medium, Jacobs-Mal-Normal, Jacobs-Mal-Outline1, Jacobs-Mal-Ramzan, Jacobs-Mal-Rosy, Jacobs-Mal-Script, Jacobs-Mal-Script 2, Jacobs-Mal-Script 3, Jacobs-Mal-Script 4, Jacobs-Mal-Semisquare, Jacobs-Mal-Shadow, Jacobs-Mal-Shadow 2, Jacobs-Mal-Slanding, Jacobs-Mal-Square, Jacobs-Mal-Stars, Jacobs-Mal-Tangient, Jacobs-Mal-Tile, Jacobs-Mal-Zebra
ECChingam Regular, ECDhanu Regular, ECMahima Regular, ECMaveli Regular, ECNandini Regular, ECNithya Regular, ECNuthana Regular, ECParasuraman Regular, ECPuthuma Regular, ECSaraswathy Regular, ECSarika Regular, ECThanima Regular, ECThinkal Regular, ECThulasi Regular, ECVamanan Regular
ECWChingam Regular, ECWDhanu Regular, ECWSaraswathy Regular, ECWThinkal Regular
Shakti Office fonts
SOmalayalam01, SOmalayalam02, SOmalayalam03, SOmalayalam04, SOmalayalam05, SOmalayalam06, SOmalayalam07, SOmalayalam08, SOmalayalam09, SOmalayalam10, SOmalayalam11, SOmalayalam12, SOmalayalam13, SOmalayalam14, SOmalayalam15, SOmalayalam16, SOmalayalam17
AkrutiMalAbhaya , AkrutiMalBhargavi , AkrutiMalChameli , AkrutiMalChhaya , AkrutiMalCharu , AkrutiMalDaksha , AkrutiMalDharika , AkrutiMalDisha , AkrutiMalDristi , AkrutiMalEkta , AkrutiMalGautami , AkrutiMalGomathi , AkrutiMalHarini , AkrutiMalIndukala , AkrutiMalJanaki , AkrutiMalKumuda , AkrutiMalLavanya , AkrutiMalNetra , AkrutiMalPadmaja
Also various newspapers, blogs and websites use their own custom fonts for publishing activities. Amongst them are:
Manorama, Mathrubhumi, Kalakaumudi, Haritha, Thoolika, Shree Lipi, Chowara, etc.
All the above categories of fonts represent different font styles. The placement of any character differs between font styles. Lack of an industrial standard is the reason for so many different font styles. While you change font within the same style, the text is consistent. However, when you change font of an article or paragraph to a font from different font style, you are in a mess.
For example, an article using an Akruti font cannot be directly set to a MLTT font. You need to convert the text to follow MLTT font placements.
Such conversions between font styles are often a headache for web developers. Utilities are available for converting between font styles in such situations.
Challenges in Malayalam Computing
» Tackling font conversions between different font styles.
» Chillaksharams are affected by inconsistencies. There are 2 different types of creating chillaksharam in Unicode fonts. While some fonts use System Unicode compliance for chillaksharam, others follow Unicode TTF style. Web browsers configured for Unicode TTF style will show chillaksharam written in the System Unicode style inconsistently.
» Most of the Malayalam Typing Software is developed keeping in mind the Windows XP as default operating platform. Latest Windows versions like Vista and 7 show compatibility issues in applications developed for older OS versions like XP.