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Hieroglyph images should be replaced with SVG versions or unicode font (Noto Sans Egyptian Hieroglyphs)
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Description

The current 'glyphs' are from 2004 by S. Rosmorduc, G. Watson, J. Hirst and license GFDL. With modern hi-dpi screens and SVG support on all browsers, they desperately could use an update.

We first need good, free and open material to source new glyphs from however.

We should make a map between our 2004 images and the hieroglyphs that were added to unicode in 2009, see what the overlap and discrepancies are (we have a mapping). Maybe a webfont would solve our problems ?

It’s worth noting that the Unicode situation vis-a-vis hieroglyphs will be rapidly changing over the next few years; control characters that allow proper stacking of glyphs will be encoded on 5 March of this year, and there are several proposals floating around for expansions of the Unicode glyph repertoire in the near future as well.

Event Timeline

jberkel renamed this task from The hieroglyph images should be replace with SVG versions or unicode font to The hieroglyph images should be replaced with SVG versions or unicode font.Jan 19 2019, 10:56 AM
jberkel added a subscriber: jberkel.
TheDJ triaged this task as Lowest priority.Jan 19 2019, 11:08 AM
TheDJ updated the task description. (Show Details)
TheDJ updated the task description. (Show Details)

Hmm, the licensing situation of jsesh is a bit in shambles for our standards at least. I reached out to him to get some clarification:

Hi,

I have a question regarding the licensing of the JSesh glyphs. People have been asking about upgrading the support for hieroglyphs in Wikipedia for a while now, but one of the first major requirements for that is finding good SVG source and/or font source material to replace the old 2004 GFDL licensed pngs by you, G. Watson, J. Hirst that are in use currently.

I've been looking at the source code and your website, and I am finding multiple pieces of software, fonts, glyphs, but the licensing and authorship statements are a tad all over the place.

This will make it impossible to use these materials in the MediaWiki software. Could you perhaps clarify the copyright, contributors and licensing status of the jseshGlyps and font, preferably in a public location like the github repo, so that we might be able to use them ?

I pinged some editors who work with hieroglyphs on the English Wiktionary and got a reply from @Vorziblix:

In the ticket there’s a mention of making ‘a map between our 2004 images and the hieroglyphs that were added to unicode in 2009’ to see what the overlap and discrepancies are. As it turns out, a year ago I made such a map; it’s available at User:Vorziblix/Mismatches between WikiHiero, Hieroglyphica, and Unicode and quite complete in its documentation of mismatches. (Any glyph that doesn’t appear there exists in both sets of glyphs and has the same Gardiner code in each). I hope it can be useful.

As far as fonts go, the Abydos font (which is ‘Free for any use’) is, IMHO, by far the best free font available for hieroglyphs at present. It covers not only the glyphs currently in Unicode but the much larger Hieroglyphica sign-list. Like WikiHiero, it has some mismatches with Unicode; the full correspondence is documented here: Module:Unicode_data/images/013. The Windows font Segoe UI Historic is definitely unusable, as it censors out several hieroglyphs by replacing them with rectangles.

It’s worth noting that the Unicode situation vis-a-vis hieroglyphs will be rapidly changing over the next few years; control characters that allow proper stacking of glyphs will be encoded on 5 March of this year, and there are several proposals floating around for expansions of the Unicode glyph repertoire in the near future as well.

(Wiktionary:Grease_pit/2019/January#Vector_hieroglyphs)

On Github I found a List of Unicode Egyptian Hieroglyphic Fonts ; Abydos is listed there as "Free for any use.” However the license says “is allowed a single instantiation and no network installation [...] Commercial or educational use of UFAS is not permitted”.

TheDJ updated the task description. (Show Details)
TheDJ updated the task description. (Show Details)

Received a reply, publishing with permission.

Basically, JSesh, as a software is under the Cecill library (it used to be under the LGPL).

Most of the fonts where not drawn by me ; the position of the font author is the following :

  • the fonts can be freely used for publishing with JSesh, either for print or for electronic publishing.
  • the fonts can be freely used *in conjunction with JSesh as a library* for other projects.
  • that’s it. In particular, it’s not possible to include it in other projects which would be completely separated from JSesh.

I certainly won’t act if someone use the fonts otherwise, but I can’t give you a steady creative common license on them (it’s ok to use
pictures produced with Jsesh, though).

Best regards,

Serge Rosmorduc

What about Noto Sans Egyptian Hieroglyphs?

Any updates on it this? Looks like Noto Sans font mentioned above is free to use.

Aklapper renamed this task from The hieroglyph images should be replaced with SVG versions or unicode font to Hieroglyph images should be replaced with SVG versions or unicode font (Noto Sans Egyptian Hieroglyphs).Nov 19 2021, 2:59 PM

Copying my comment at T5593:

I believe simple Unicode hieroglyphs already display on Windows browsers because Windows has a hieroglyph font.

To make hieroglyphs work in general, WMF just needs to supply the CSS that points to a webfont on a WMF server. (I understand that using Google's CSS is a bad idea because it allows Google tracking. However, I believe WMF may point to a copy of a Google font on a WMF server.)

See https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Help:SVG_guidelines#Background stating

Your browser may or may not have a font for Egyptian hieroglyphs (𓀀𓀐𓀠) or Siddham script (𑖎𑖚𑖕𑖿𑖧𑖲𑖨𑖿𑖎𑖜𑖿𑖧𑖯).

Cartouches and stacking may be a problem, but simple scripts should work. Doing them in Unicode also means that copy/paste work.

Both the hieroglyphs and Siddham script display on my laptop that installed Siddham.

I believe simple Unicode hieroglyphs already display on Windows browsers because Windows has a hieroglyph font.

The hieroglyphic font provided with Windows is censored, and for that reason unsuitable for representing Egyptian texts — several glyphs are intentionally made to appear as blank rectangles rather than their proper forms.

To make hieroglyphs work in general, WMF just needs to supply the CSS that points to a webfont on a WMF server.

This is, unfortunately, not the case. Although the specifications to get them working were added to Unicode a year or two ago, no existing hieroglyphic font yet implements the stacking/arrangement capabilities needed for a correct representation of Egyptian script. There is no hieroglyphic webfont at present that can straightforwardly serve as a replacement for an image-based system. That said, the image system we have could certainly stand to be improved/remade using SVGs/etc., or it might be possible to use a webfont if it’s combined with other technologies to arrange the individual glyphs as desired. As you note, ‘simple scripts’ might indeed work without arrangement, but such scripts make up a very small (almost negligible) proportion of Egyptian text to be rendered.

Where are these glyphs stored? I don't see them on the Commons. I'm guessing that here above the subcategories is the list of images used by the extension. If so, for the "man and his occupations" category, the Noto Sans font is missing only the A113 and A316 images. However, those images/codes are not in the list either. Are these two even used? If so, we could ask people on Commons to create missing glyphs. The list uses the normal text for hieroglyphics and I can see all the hieroglyphics in there, so I assume not much will need to be added. Am I missing something?

Where are these glyphs stored? I don't see them on the Commons.

We do not run production code with assets hot-loaded from user-editable pages. The images used by the software are controlled in the software's git repo.

I did a test: comparision here.
Single glyphs look fine, when there are 2 or more they are hardly visible. I don't know. Part of this is the fault of the font, which makes some elements taller (hand), which squeezes the glyphs. Maybe if you bolded the lines in those cases it would be ok. Someone with a better grasp of SVG could figure it out.

@Slawobog Thanks for making the comparison. It seems that our current size is roughly Noto Sans Egyptian Hieroglyphs at 35px ?? Whereas if I look at them on Google's viewer, the noto font really seems designed for like 50px sizing? Below that it gets thin and less readable I feel. I tried upping the weight a bit in the inspector, but that didn't really seem to help make it more readable honestly.