Microsoft has created a new shaping engine for text that it says will help Windows 10 display more languages correctly. The details of the new Universal Shaping Engine have now been published for font developers to access so that their creations look right when used on Windows 10.
Microsoft said today that for a complex text language to be displayed correctly on current and earlier versions of Windows, linguists and developers had to create a shaping engine to support each script. That meant that only 27 shaping engines were made for the most complex writing systems by the time Windows 8.1 was released.
There is a standard called Unicode that supports 125 different writing systems but close to 50 of them still need shaping support. Microsoft stated:
"This problem led a small team of engineers in Microsoft's Operating Systems Group to think about how to design a shaping engine so that any script defined in Unicode could be displayed correctly without the time and effort required to create a dedicated shaping engine. The result is a new kind of shaping engine, a "universal shaping engine", that is capable of supporting any complex script when provided with a suitable font."
With the publishing of the new Universal Shaping Engine, Microsoft hopes to add support for displaying fonts in many more languages correctly for Windows 10. It states:
"We hope that other platforms and text layout software will create compatible systems so that documents and fonts produced on Windows will display correctly on other systems and vice-versa. That way language communities, enthusiasts and scholars can share documents in any of the world's more than 7,000 languages using one of the 125 writing systems in Unicode (and counting).