Urdu language Fonts and Keyboard Drivers for different media were released by Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for Communication and IT. Developed under the aegis of Technology Development for Indian Languages Programme (TDIL) of DeitY (Department of Electronics and IT), these would be available free of cost, for public use. Indian Language Technology Development on digital medium is one of the major thrust areas of DeitY, Ministry of Communications and IT.
Content creation and consumption is one of the major requirements for language growth and keeping this in mind, as a first step, the following Urdu Fonts and keyboard drivers are being released to the public:
Unicode compliant Open Font format for Naskh script – 12 numbers
Unicode compliant Open Font format for Nastaliq script – 1 number
Urdu Keyboard driver with enhanced INSCRIPT, Phonetic and Custom for Windows 32 / 64 bit Operating system
Urdu Keyboard driver with enhanced INSCRIPT keyboard for Android platform
Fonts of Urdu
The font is the first contact, which the user makes with an application on his screen, and largely it is the choice and attractiveness of the font, which makes the application visually appealing. The beauty and the aesthetics of a font are closely intertwined and are dependent on the font designer. CDAC, GIST has always kept these factors in mind when designing the font, which has maximal visual appeal and readability.
A total of 12 Naskh and 1 number of Unicode 6.2 compliant fonts are being made available to the public.
Naskh : Naskh, though cursive, is linear in nature. Each letter joins the next moving from right to left. The glyphs change shape according to the place they occupy within the word.
Strictly defined by norms laid down by tradition, the visual beauty of Naskh lies in the seamless manner in which each letter joins the next letter to create a text which is as attractive as a visual drawing.
Nastaaliq : Nastaaliq is one of the most complex scripts to design. Nastaaliq moves both from right to left and vertically from top to bottom with the “nukte” or dots conforming to a strict placement order.
Nastaaliq demands strict conformity with a specific grammar which has been honed and fine-tuned over the centuries.
A well-designed Nastaaliq font as is shown in the Nabeel font designed by GIST C-DAC, has both a visual appeal as well as grammatical economy and correctness:
Urdu Keyboard driver based on Enhanced INSCRIPT
The keyboard manager released in January 2007 for Urdu was based on Inscript Keyboard layout. Now, the INSCRIPT standard has been enhanced to make it compliant to latest Unicode standard 6.2. The new Urdu Keyboard driver based on Enhanced INSCRIPT, gives freedom to the users for creating content, write e-mail, chat in Urdu using UNICODE compliant software. Urdu by nature is written right to left. It is capable of handling these right to left (RTL) scripts on any existing UNICODE compliant application, running under language enabled Windows such as – Notepad, MS-Word, etc in Windows 2000, XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8 and above editions.
Using Unicode enabled web-content creation tools; user can also create HTML documents which can be published on the Web / Internet. The documents, letters and data created using it are UNICODE based. User can use the application to type in various layouts such as INSCRIPT / PHONETIC / CUSTOM by pressing either Capslock / Numlock / Scroll Lock and can switch to English as and when required. The tool also comes with Virtual Onscreen Floating keyboard for click-typing or easy reference.