Unicode Migration - Image by Mihir Upadhyay from Pixabay

There are many typing and rendering system across Myanmar Typing System and also rendering system. There are many ways including from typewriter settings to the latest working Myanmar Unicode System. Now, it's time for a change and we will feature through how to safely move from Zawgyi or any other typing system to standardized Myanmar Unicode System. In this week, we present you about Unicode Migration and move you safely from Zawgyi.

A Brief History

In the 1990s, there are only supported typing systems are ASCII based fonts, which means you can type any font which does not have some methodology such as switching keyboard layouts. They have only 255 key codes and you can only work by replacing the English and Latin characters to meet your needs. If you want to type into Myanmar (Burmese) Language, you have to switch font into Myanmar character based font which replaces the font glyph of the original English characters. Many people experienced this and some are still using them so far.

Around 2005-2007, there are some internet cafe society develops, the Unicode system has come into people mind. Without needing to switch the whole font system, you can only switch by pressing the combination of CTRL+SHIFT or some other combination to change the language. At that time, we met and fall in love with Zawgyi Font, a long-named Alpha Zawgyi Unicode System.

Even if we don't have time or any idea to check they followed standards or any other things but one thing is Zawgyi font was very convenient. We can type by CTRL+SHIFT to change the font language. Send and receive using multiple times and Zawgyi becomes widespread as gas fire across the internet users in Myanmar. At that time, we haven't heard about Myanmar Unicode. Again, We haven't heard about Myanmar Unicode System, or just we don't care.

In 2010 and later, I have some translation tasks for storing Arabic texts on MySQL backend (technically database) and we found that we have to type in Arabic system. In earlier, we have met Zawgyi and we think the Arabic system is also the same. If you dive deeper, the Arabic glyphs are not the same as English glyphs and they are similar to Myanmar typing system. We have some vowels or additional words to sound clear and in Arabic, the key combinations are also required to meets our need. Otherwise, we have to learn two to three form to same character literal to type.

I faced that typing Arabic using a specific keyboard is easy to reach our goals. You only have to learn one typing for one keystroke and more simple, they do the combination works. We don't have to learn everything about combination or joining each word.

However, I faced a new problem, Zawgyi broke My Arabic typings. The rendering of the Zawgyi broke working with my current Arabic text works. They not only became Right to Left to Left to Right, worst case, and they broke the joining procedure. My texts became unusable. I know that I need a new system, and we have heard about one more typing system, Myanmar Unicode. At 2010, I heard Myanmar 2.

I see Myanmar 2 has been set up default communication font or rendering system for government offices at that time. At the meantime, the public is using Zawgyi-One font for public communication. We can say that there is also parallel communication or development between Myanmar Unicode and Zawgyi since there.

In later, Zawgyi support has been community developed. Many people volunteer about embedding Zawgyi font in various mobile devices, including Android and iOS. Android is the most widely got support from Zawgyi Community. Even though Myanmar Unicode has better capability than Zawgyi, many people thought Myanmar Unicode is developed by the Government and they mostly want to stay far from it.

Around 2012, many other Unicode deviated rendering systems released. Famous encoding systems include Ayar Myanmar Unicode system, San Myanmar System. The most similar Unicode System is Ayar Myanmar Unicode System and the only difference is one alphabet typing and rendering order. One of the media organization based on Norway named, DVB, start using Aya Myanmar Unicode as their default font. Ayar Myanmar has 11 font variations, which is one step closer to Myanmar Unicode. Instead of Using Zawgyi and some who wants font variation, they started using Ayar Myanmar Unicode System.

At the meantime, Myanmar Unicode was not fully supported by most of the systems, including Adobe Indesign or Premier, which are widely used in Myanmar at that time. (Some are still using Adobe Pagemaker 7 and they can't type both Zawgyi and Myanmar Unicode, then they are using only Win or Other fonts as ASCII.)

Later, Myanmar Unicode has been built up faster and better and Other Unicode system has been merged back to Myanmar Unicode and now its time to unify Myanmar Unicode System.

Unicode Migration - Who will be affected

Mostly be affected to the technology sector of the country or people who are using it. Zawgyi has lack of support and people know that many people will lead to change but they do not want to lose their readership who widely use Zawgyi as default font system. Another thing is the technology problem. We do embed fonts in a normal way, we accept. However, when the specific fonts are loading, visitors will see the correct display. In Myanmar Unicode or Zawgyi is used, this is different. You cannot see correct when the font is loading. This will lead half of your visitor will go back. That's why Zawgyi has won the long-run for a decade.

 

Migrate from Zawgyi - Staring from Users level Unicode Migration

Current Government is targeted October 1st, 2019 as Myanmar Unicode Standardized day and start processing along with Grassroot level. Many people volunteered and Many people converted to Myanmar Unicode including from Normal low waged labour to Telcos are changing to Myanmar Unicode in Bulk. State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has also promoted Myanmar Unicode to Change from Zawgyi. Many opinions arose but the progress is great.

 

Who will be stuck in Unicode Migration and Why?

The users have been changed to Myanmar Unicode but some websites cannot be changed to Myanmar Unicode. They cannot change fast to Myanmar Unicode is around these reasons when Unicode Migration Progress.

  1. They do not want to lose their readership
  2. They simply don't know how much percentage of user change to Myanmar Unicode
  3. How tons of contents to be changed to Myanmar Unicode
  4. Data Loss and Data Error
  5. Computational Algorithm Error
  6. How dual data will be handled

Some are mythical but most of them do not want to lose any readership including bloggers and information providers and AdSense websites.

 

Hotfixes

Many websites will face one of the big challenges, the bulk customer changed to different encoding and still access to the same website. So, if you don't do any font embedding, your website will be useless. Many people convert or work with Dual Language System [Zawgyi] [Unicode] but this is not working very well.

For websites, owners can fix by adding font embed system or add a converter plugin to fix the problem. This is hotfix. Again, Hotfix.

In Wordpress, many plugins are listed on https://wordpress.org/plugins/tags/myanmar/ but most of them will be required to check in detail to suits your needs.

In Mobile, the font embedding is good enough to display the correct display too.

This solution belongs to the website owners who do not want to switch to Unicode so far but you have to take time to change to Myanmar Unicode. You should change to Myanmar Unicode but you can fix with them for a short period.

Detect and Convert

In Unicode Migration, there are many ways to detect using the browser and switch to specific font encoding. If you are using Myanmar Unicode before, we do not recommend this way. Please stay on the path. You should only have to deal with inputs only. If you fall back on Zawgyi, your website will face unpredicted errors such as wrong positioning of characters.

If you are using Zawgyi and your customers or visitors are changing to Myanmar Unicode, you can embed your font or convert into Myanmar Unicode. You can detect via browser or Install a converter plugin and convert them to output into Myanmar Unicode.

Embed does not seem simple but simple

There are many plugins along with famous providers such as WordPress or drupal. If your app is the home-grown app you can change via Rabbit Converter. (https://www.rabbit-converter.org/Rabbit/) is one of the best on the fly converter if you want to type and convert to use for your communication. If you want automatic convert, You can embed library such as https://www.rabbit-converter.org/Rabbit/ to get more information. You can find various libraries to get Myanmar Unicode to work smoothly. We have been embed Rabbit converter in our clients Drupal websites.

So, if you add converter, your website is still using Zawgyi but your website is showing with Myanmar Unicode to your customers. This is halfway done and you can easily work on this. Keep one thing in mind, this should be done only if you are afraid of losing data or do not want to manage your whole website to Unicode.

Convert

The most elegant way is to convert to Myanmar Unicode in Unicode Migration Progress. I have faced one problem with that and I leave out but I hope this thing will work. You can change the whole website or app with Myanmar Unicode. Many programs can perform the task but there are one thing arises on websites, URLs are converted to Myanmar Unicode.

If you have converted to Myanmar Unicode, your old links will return 404, not found. So, you have to make aware that you should only change data and you should not change URL to Myanmar Unicode to save your links. If it is already converted, you should add some configuration or plugin to check both Unicode URL entry and Zawgyi Entry.

Converting the website works in the most way but you should be aware of making a backup before anything is performed.

Handling Input

Many people emphasize on presenting and converting in Myanmar Unicode but there is one more essential thing which will lead to a bottleneck. How will you handle both encodings?

Thousands of people are working with two types of encoding and how will you manage your inputs before and after Unicode Migration.

To handle inputs, you have to pass all inputs into check methods and you will check and convert to Myanmar Unicode. Please don't try to convert to Zawgyi and you have to make it more complex things. According to my experience, https://github.com/google/myanmar-tools can handle and detect input. You can switch with Rabbit Converter after identifying with this tool and you will get the information flawless.

Conclusion

In this post, we have covered mostly on every aspect of the possibilities of the events occur in Myanmar Unicode Migration Process. If you have found any more, please contribute to this post via email us services@lovelyfamilymm.com and we will reach more. There are many volunteers and active persons in Unicode Migrations and You can reach them out easily. I hope this post will help you to make your Unicode Migration easy and successful.

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By lwinmaungmaung on Sat, 02/01/2020 - 18:07