Thaana text rendering: A solution for devices without the required fonts

A few years ago I wrote a PHP-based Thaana text rendering class while investigating solutions to the problem of displaying Thaana text in web browsers on various devices. The class dynamically converts any given Thaana text into a formatted image of given dimensions and type. The use of images to display Thaana means that the information can be viewed on a large variety of devices and does away with the demand for the device to support Thaana fonts. On the flip side, the use of images does mean that this approach has higher bandwidth and data transfer requirements than text.


The class makes use of the powerful image manipulation services provided by the GD library to create images from text and hence inherits the wide of features it offers. However, since the GD library does not (or atleast did not, back then) support right-to-left scripts and does not offer line wrapping to fit text within a bounding box, custom code had to be written to handle the unsupported text direction and formatting. The class also supports use of any Thaana font, made possible by GD support for loading TrueType fonts.


This piece of code was briefly put to live use around 2004 on the (now defunct)'s Radheef service. More recently, it has been put to great use by to display Thaana on their mobile service so that user's can read news in Thaana on mobile devices, including Windows Mobile-based phones and the iPhone.


Give it a go and play around: Thaana text rendering demo.

I am not releasing the code publicly just yet...