[HarfBuzz] 'init' OT feature in Hebrew

Khaled Hosny khaledhosny at eglug.org
Fri Nov 12 10:17:39 PST 2010

On Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 12:51:37PM -0500, Behdad Esfahbod wrote:
> On 11/11/10 18:38, Maxim Iorsh wrote:
> > Hi,
> > 
> > I intend to use 'init' feature in a certain Hebrew font, but it seems
> > there is no support for this in Pango (at least not in my standard
> > Inkscape installation). Is it just my problem, or there is indeed need
> > to implement it somehow (in HarfBuzz/Pango/Inkscape/elsewhere)? Is it
> > supported per script or globally? Some Latin cursives also feature
> > distinctive initial letters.
> > 
> > To make it clear, 'init' is not necessary to render Hebrew properly. It
> > is just an artistic feature of a specific cursive font.
> Can I see the font?  This is the first time I've seen 'init' being used in
> that way.  Does the font work on Windows? 'init' is *not* for fancy initials.
>  It's a feature specific to how Arabic, Syriac, and similar scripts work.

Recently I've been told some Adobe apps (InDesign I think) support init,
medi and fina for Latin script (and I geuss the support is generic so
Hebrew might work too) and some font designers seem to be leveraging
such support. I was surprised too, but given how it is impractical
(impossible?) to write contextual substitution against word boundaries
(testing against space is not enough, it seems) I can see why this it
would be desirable.

I've not seen such fonts out in the wild, though.


 Khaled Hosny
 Arabic localiser and member of Arabeyes.org team
 Free font developer

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