[HarfBuzz] Intro to HarfBuzz

Behdad Esfahbod behdad at behdad.org
Mon Aug 30 14:42:47 PDT 2010

On 08/30/10 05:21, Tom Hacohen wrote:
> Dear all,
> My name is Tom and I work on the Hebrew and Arabic support of
> enlightenment.org (efl/e17).

Hi Tom,

Welcome to the list.

> Until now, I based my work on the FriBiDi shaper. I've heard the name
> HarfBuzz in the past, and was planning to use it for a while now, and
> the lack of ligatures support in FriBiDi was the final incentive for the
> migration.
> I looked in Pango's and HarfBuzz's source code a bit and I have a couple
> of questions:
> 1. What can HarfBuzz do? I know it can shape and help finding correct
> line breaks what else? Are the features I mentioned correct? Is there a
> text somewhere that explains a bit about HarfBuzz?
> 2. How does it interact with FreeType?
> 3. I noticed that the shaper code accepts 16bit unicode strings, why not
> 32? Should I convert my 32code points to 16 before calling to the HB
> functions? Or is there a better way? (A secret set of 32bit
> functions ;P).

So, there's the old HarfBuzz code (the one you are seeing).  And there's the
hb-ng code base, which is a redesign/rewrite of the project.  The hb-ng code
is what is actively being developed, but it doesn't currently have Arabic
shaping.  Other than that, it does accept all of UTF-8, UTF-16, and UTF-32.
So when it's done, you can use it.

In the mean time, I'm not sure what your requirements are, but it may be
easier to use Pango if you can afford the dependencies.


> I think those questions are enough to get me started.
> Thanks a lot,
> Tom.
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