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Tamil Unicode Font for Android – Working

July 30, 2011 162 comments

Again couple of months are gone since I wrote my last article. I think it’s time to write another article about the hot topic “Tamil fonts in Android OS”. I’m Android user since two years and I never thought to access Tamil websites or any Tamil content through my smartphone. Since Tamil Unicode is not implemented in Android I also wasn’t that much interested in digging OS for Tamil fonts.

One of my friends has IPhone and we had an argument which of the OS is best for current user. My argument was “it depends of the needs”. Android is open source and allows exploring more in your own way where IPhone OS (IOS) is exclusive to the users. Users are limited to certain functions.

Anyway we leave the topic which of the Operating system is best; ) my friend said IPhone can read Unicode fonts where Android does not include all Unicode letters. I didn’t want to let my Samsung Galaxy s2 go down in comparison with his IPhone and I challenged him to make my phone able to read Tamil Unicode fonts. So it started with my research about Tamil Unicode Fonts.

Tamil is a south Indian language, more than 2000 years old and derived from Sanskrit Language. It contains (12 * 18) + (12 + 16) = 246 letters

Tamil is a “classic“ south Indian language, more than 2000 years old  (I’m not very sure). It contains (12*18) + (12+18) + 1 = 247 letters.

 (PS: sorry for the lack of Tamil history knowledge )

(Some of Indian Language has more than 1000 chars :S:S:S:S:SJ)

I have searched in Google about Tamil fonts in Android and found millions of people are waiting for the Tamil Unicode implementation in Android. I definitely want to do something to be able to read Tamil on my phone. Not only because of my friends argument against Android also because of so many people who are interested in having Tamil Unicode fonts in their Android devices.

After couple of research it was clear to me the Android phone has to be rooted to alter system wide files such as fonts and layouts. There are some methods in Opera Browser to activate bitmap fonts which is claimed to be able to read Unicode Tamil fonts.

I didn’t want to go for that option because the solution is just to read a website and Tamil fonts cannot be accessed system wide. So I came to a conclusion to write a font which includes Tamil Unicode.

Here are some advantages of system font:

  • This method would be perfect for any of the users who want to develop Application in Tamil without using graphic letters.
  • No need to install specific browsers Tamil Unicode is visible in any browser
  • Tamil Unicode is visible system wide (write message, email, applications, website)

Disadvantage:

  • Phone has to be rooted in order to alter system font
  • Everyone should have it in order to render.

Everything in my plan seemed fine and I initiated the project writing Unicode Tamil Font for Android. Half a way through I have checked the Android market for any Tamil related application and found some Tamil keyboards which claimed to make it easy to write in Tamil.

I was wondering how to implement 246 letters into Android Keyboard where we already struggling for space for 26 English letters; )))

Obviously we don’t need to have 246 letters because some of the letters could be created by combining two alphabets. But still the letters are too much to place in the Keyboard. Furthermore we all are accustomed to write in English Keyboards.

The Taminglish, art of writing Tamil using English letters has overtaken almost a full generation and nowadays it is common that young generation using Taminglish for their Tamil needs.

Another idea has joined, developing a Taminglish Keyboard for Android which makes writing Tamil much easier than other options.

In year 2007 (can’t remember) I have created a Script for MSN Messenger users who want to write Tamil Unicode in MSN Messenger. It was just a try and I didn’t have time to give further updates. Soon after launching the Script nearly 10 000 users have downloaded the script and I was happy to have such amount of fans.

Reference: www.msgplus.net and search for Tamil converter Script. or

http://www.msgplus.net/Downloads/Download-Details/DocumentID/8175/

I though why don’t you give a system font along with Taminglish Keyboard which will instantly make it easier to learn and write Tamil.

It’s been a week now since I have started the project. Today morning at 04:00 AM I finished the basic functions and tested the result. Now I’m able to read any Tamil Unicode website through any browser and I’m also able to send SMS/Text in Tamil.

Here are the solutions:

clip_image001

clip_image002

The Keyboard has not been correctly aligned, it is still under development. Keyboard functions are as usual with additional key [Cnv] which converts Taminglish into Tamil Unicode letters.

For example: “ammaa” will be converted into அம்மா.

I will be happy to have beta users to test the keyboard and font before I launch to the Android market.

I also would like to get support/comments/suggestions/Donations to establish my project. Smile

Krish KM

———————————————UPDATES—————————-

02-08-2011 18:36:45

Thank you all for your support and encourage I feel so much encouraged now. And BTW I’m sorry for lack of Tamil history knowledge ; ) I have learned much new things through this project.

 

Currently I’m working on Bold fonts. As you can see the screenshot “Tamilwin” website does not shows any bold fonts on my mobile (maybe some of you already started to moaning “we don’t even have regular font, why you complain about bold” ; ))

Here the current progress:

Font

  1. Font alteration : Done,
  2. Full Unicode rendering : Done,
  3. Implementing full Tamil letters: Done
  4. Implementing Bold letters : Partly –done

Taminglish Keyboard

  1. Taminglish Keyboard –Layout : Done,
  2. Taminglish Keyboard –Conversion : Partly done (has some minor bugs)

APK

  1. Keyboard installer : Done
  2. Tamil Font installer : Partly done {Still having issues to mount the system in RW mode}

 

Overall I’m thinking to merge those two applications into one and hope will finish soon..

I’ll let you know guys.

 

krish km

 

03-08-2011 01:36:04

Bold font implementation complete…

 

result

 

ScreenShot03-08-2011

 

 

—————————————-DOWNLOAD:——————–

..

Tamil Unicode font:
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.KM.TF

Taminglish keyboard converter:
https://market.android.com/details?id=com.KM.TK

 

04-08-2011

Donated version available

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.KM.TK.DN

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.KM.TF.DN

Official page

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tamil-Unicode-Font-for-Android/175977979139443

donation:

http://www.knmglobal.com/donate.htm

if you can’t see on the market
search as
pub:”krish km” will show all Tamil Unicode apps

PS: the application might not response well please hit the button more than once, it will work, it is due to my bad coding to get superuser permission for the whole session.

Donated Version Note:
The partly rendering issue was already known  to me. The intention of beta version was to make sure that implementing Unicode chars is working in first place. I purposely didn’t let the script to decode all chars as I thought it might overweight the standard chars. And I didn’t want any one break their devices.

The donated version will alter the standard font and and implement all Tamil Unicode chars.

from your reply for the beta version. I’m sure your device is fully compatible for the donated version. let your self surprise.

krish km

 

———————————-Release comment

. .

 

Hii thank for the all comments, I’m sorry for the rendering issue,
as I said I was more concentrating not to break the phone it means the “NOT FULLY RENDERING” was already known to me while working with the font.

the intention of beta release is to test on all your phones, that Tamil Unicode is working partly or fully as I wanted letters are there as I wanted, letters are broken as I wanted,
and I have the answer that my script is working as I wanted.

today or by tomorrow you all will receive update with fully compatible Tamil Unicode to the system.

I feel so much encouraged now. Thanks for your support.
I will take sick leave and try to finish it by today.

Krish KM

 

 

soo much appreciation from my lovely sisters ; ))) PLS: forgive our tamil we tried as much as we could ; )

 

 

SMS

ScreenShot04-08-2011

 

Email and whats app..

screenshot_28screenshot_30

 

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