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C'est MWA

The Quest for Windows Persian

11 1422

"Windows Persian" means Windows Arabic (Codepage 1256) plus five additional glyphs for the Iranian market. These glyphs are all in the fonts that come with the Arabic Text Support module associated with Microsoft Internet Explorer 5. Four of them (the indispensible ones) have been around as long as the "localized" or "enabled" Arabic Windows 95 product of 1996.

But where is the sign of anybody ever doing anything with them? Out in WWWonderland, one uncovers vastly less Persian than Arabic, and what there is of the latter almost always comes as artwork, not character-based text. Sometimes as pure homebrew artwork, sometimes as PDF files, but scarcely ever as Windows Persian. Indeed, when this document gets posted perhaps an hour from now, there will be half again as many Windows Persian webpages in the world, for we know of only two others, both very specialized and peculiar in much the same way that this page is. That is, they are both about how one can do Persian or Persian Windows, not about something less boring and more bloody and extralinguistic, like, say, the history of Jenghiz Khan and Company.

First comes our own original contribution. We ourselves do not need to quest for Windows Persian in the sense of becoming "enabled" to generate it. We have only to type it in with the "Arabic (Massachusetts) 101-Key" keyboard and place the mantra

  { meta http-equiv=Content-Type content="text/html; charset=windows-1256" }
at the top of this page of HTML. Microsoft Corporation will take care of the rest.

Here, to begin with, are the Gang of Four-and-a-half:

As usual, Microsoft doesn't get these things altogether right. Although it is mildly nice to have an absolute/final without the thingumabob the Arabs write inside it, it would have been more useful to have a with a on top of it to write certain kinds of with. Aha! this is another pretty case of self-referentiality, like the main page's discussion of in the "Xlit1256" font! One can only write

with a practically invisible vowel in it, when the ideal would be

Ezafe-ye-Iyn Jens

In comparison with that issue and above all the omission to supply any keyboard access, it is trivial nitpicing to complain that the fonts Microsoft hides the Persian glyphs in do not look at all Persian. By default, IE5 executed everything so far as "Tahoma," but that may depend on the settings of particular browsers. Let us look at a verse explicitly cast into all four of the Redmond standard fonts.


"Courier New"


"Times New Roman"

Needless to say, a really Persian version would look more like

Roodaki _apud_ Kabooly

Now as to those other two "Windows Persian" webpages,

I. "The Localized Website of Trigeminal Software, Inc. (Farsi)"

That caption, and still more that URL with the "1065" language code in it, reveal at once that this site is located in Outer Nerdistan. Here we have a whole page of Farsi put up to demonstrate that one can put up whole pages of Farsi, not because one has anything particular to say.

   Trigeminal Software, Inc. is a software development and consulting
company focusing on software solutions using:
	Microsoft Visual C++ 6.0 (and 7.0!) 
	Microsoft Visual Basic 6.0 (and 7.0!) 
	Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 and 2000 
	Microsoft Jet 3.5x and 4.xx 
	Microsoft Access 97 and 2000 
	Microsoft Internet Information Server/Active Server Pages

That excerpt from the parent page should be quite enough to indicate what sort of folks these are, and with what large USA corporation intervolved. Also they are the sort who haven't fixed that fouled-up UDRU line of their

"Why Can't They Just Speak ______?"

webpage, even though we happen to know they were advised about it weeks ago.

And then there is

II. "English-Farsi Online Dictionary. Free online English-Farsi translation",

which is manifestly another demonstration of polyglottery in general rather than of Persian in particular. Nevertheless, when you put in an English word and they give the equivalent, the latter is undeniably in Windows Persian. As, for instance,

ECTACO look-up

where the IE5 "View\Source" procedure allows one to extract the following:

{font class="arabic" size="+2"} ؛  ؛  ؛  / /؛  ؛  {/font}

To which we append a screenshot of the HTML for the above line with the Persian (and the English and the HTML) shown in the "Xlit1256" font:

Windows Persian in Xlit1256

It must be admitted that HTML (or rather, IE5 performing HTML) doesn't always do mixed right-left and left-right material ideally correct. Possibly you noticed something slightly ahoo with the date of this document at the top of the page?

To conclude, here is (1)


a very literary document indeed, which shows some Windows Persian text prepared by WinWord 9. Don't try to download that one if you don't have Microsoft Office 200X. And (2), a link to
"The Most Useful Persian Media"

which leads on to a lot of Persian-language newspaper sites that do things the artwork way.

And finally, (3), since Osmaniyyeh was pretty much the same language as Persian, if it was ever exactly any language at all, why not a webpage of it? Behold Massachusetts Windows Turkish!

Ahmet III (Tulip Man)