Resources and articles on Arabization of computer software and the internet
This collection of articles discusses the background, history, techniques, technology and issues involved in bringing the Arabic language to the internet. These pages were originally writting in December of 1999, and have been updated to reflect current technologies.
A very nice surprise from Sony Ericsson. Even though Android does not have full and official support for Arabic until Android 4.0, their handsets do have very good Arabic support by default, even handsets sold in the USA and Canada.
If you have Android 2.1 or 2.3 and updated it to the latest update from your carrier, then you do have Arabic support. To check if it works, then just visit BBC Arabic and see if Arabic shows correctly and the letters are connected.
To enable Arabic typing, you need to press Menu, then select "Language and Keyboard", then under "Keyboard settings" select "Default input", then select "Writing Languages", and check "Arabic". You will then see a language switching icon on your keyboard (the "globe" symbol).
Not only does Arabic work well, the font looks much better than what is in CyanogenMod for example.
For the Xperia X10, when upgrading the software using Sony's PC Companion, you will get full Arabic support on the phone, with a beautiful font, and no glitches. The only drawback is the phone is unrooted, and therefore you lose functionality of apps that require root (e.g. Titanium Backup, ShootMe), and have the bloated apps that autostart (Timescape, Moxier Mail, ...etc.)
I often get asked which sites run Drupal in Arabic.
Here is a list that I started. Please add any Drupal Arabic sites that you know of in the comments.
It is always a challenge to make software and computing in general do Arabic (and other languages that are Right to Left and uses variable shape letters). Regarding the internet, I wrote several articles about Arabic on the Internet with a lot of background information, technical challenges, state of the market, and more. As far as Drupal is concerned, you can read my article on the various possible approaches for the Arabization of Drupal.
Microsoft, being the main producer of operating systems and applications for personal computers for about a half century, had a lot of impact on Arabic and Computing. This article details some of that impact, both from the technology point of view, as well as from the business angle.
This page provides a historical overview on how computers handled Arabic in the past, and how it is handled at present.
Until a few years ago, I held to the position that using graphics to display Arabic on the internet is the most portable way of presentation. I no longer hold this view, since the technology has evolved, and we do have solutions to this now. However, my old position below is kept for historical purposes.The only truely portable form of Arabic on the internet, is a picture with Arabic in Graphics. This means that the page to be published can be scanned to a .GIF or .JPG file and published as an image.This can be read by any graphical browser on any platform.
A sizable population of web developers write their sites pretending that only one browser exists (Microsoft Internet Explorer) on one Operating System (Windows).This is a terrible mistake that even large web sites fall into. Even Al Jazeera did so until they overhauled their site in late 2004.
Can you understand this?
"9aba7 el kheir...Ya alf nhar abya'9"
This says in Arabic:
يا صباح الخير ... يا ألف نهار أبيض