PLEASE NOTE - If you have landed in this page straightaway, without knowing anything much about azhagi.com and it's free softwares, then please note that azhagi.com offers two unique and free indic softwares - Azhagi+ and Azhagi. Both of them possess peerless features and you can download them from the home page of azhagi.com. In case you landed here looking for free fonts, then you have: (a) FREE Tamil fonts (100s of them of various encodings - Unicode, Tscii, TAB, TAM, etc.) - at freefonts.html and (b) FREE Indic (Indian language) Unicode fonts - at unicodeff.html.


FAQ - on 'How to create websites in Tamil?' (OR) 'Dynamic web fonts'

Note: Instructions similar to what I have given below can be adopted for creating websites in Hindi, Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Punjabi, Oriya, Assamese, etc. too.

Very important:
  • If you are quite a beginner and if you know to read Tamil, then please read this tutorial "HTML ஆவணத்தில் தமிழை வெளிப்படுத்த" by Sri Thangam Palani at http://www.yarlitweb.com/2012/11/html-tutorials-16-html.html [ alternate link: here ] - to create your first Tamil web page "in a matter of seconds". Along with this, please read answers to Q.5, Q.6 and Q.7 in the FAQ below (in this same page) too without fail and act accordingly. Thereafter, you may kindly proceed to read other related tutorials in the abovementioned webpage by clicking the appropriate links.

  • If you are not a beginner and if you don't have the need to show your website in more than one Tamil (or Indic) font, kindly proceed to read the FAQ below in full.

  • If you are not a beginner and if you wish to show your website in more than one Tamil (or Indic) font, kindly read the question in this link https://groups.google.com/forum/#!msg/azhagi/L6ZJ9WfIQtY/T68cfvYpa7wJ and my reply to the same at https://groups.google.com/d/msg/azhagi/L6ZJ9WfIQtY/hl3csP50c4MJ. If they were of any help, then act accordingly and thereafter read the relevant portions of the FAQ below. If they were not of any help, then read the FAQ below in full.

Q.1 Do I really need dynamic fonts for creating Tamil websites?
NO. You do not need. If you host your site's pages in Unicode encoding (with the meta tag properly specified as given under Q.5), all your pages will be straightaway visible in Tamil to any visitor. You need not employ any dynamic fonts at all. No need for visitor to download any fonts too. Hence, please understand well that dynamic fonts are not necessary in the current scenario where UNICODE has become the universal standard for everything related to Tamil computing and information exchange in Tamil. Also, except Internet Explorer, other popular mozilla-based browsers like Firefox, Google Chrome, etc. do not support dynamic font technology at all - neither for Unicode nor for any other font encoding - nither in .eot format nor in .pfr format.

Q.2 What are the conditions under which I might still need to use dynamic Tamil fonts?
  • If you wish to host your website in an encoding which is NOT unicode. For e.g. 'Tscii' encoding.
    But, please be aware that it serves no useful purpose to host a site in a non-unicode encoding since Unicode is the universal standard for now and the future and your web pages will be searchable in Google in Tamil only if they are in Unicode.
  • If you wish to host your website in Unicode but in a different font style other than the 'Latha' font style.
    But again, please be aware that since Firefox, Chrome, etc. do not support dynamic font technology at all, whatever font style you might use dynamically for your web pages, browsers like Firefox or Google Chrome will still show your pages in the default 'Latha' font style only. And, if your dynamic font's texts at various font sizes do not match with that of Latha font, your pages while looking nice in Internet Explorer will look completely different (sometimes even awkwardly different) in Firefox, Chrome, etc. Hence, it again serves no useful purpose to host a site in Unicode using a dynamic font.

Q.3 What browsers support dynamic fonts?
Only Internet Explorer supports dynamic font technology (for any font encoding). All mozilla based browsers like Firefox, Google Chrome, etc. DO NOT support dynamic font technology at all - neither for Unicode nor for any other font encoding - nither in .eot format nor in .pfr format.

Q.4 What is 'Latha' font and will it be available in all systems by default?
'Latha' font is Microsoft's proprietary font for displaying Tamil Unicode characters. It will be present by default in all Windows operating systems (Win2K, Win2003, WinXP and above). It gets installed automatically upon OS installation. So, you don't need to acquire the font from somewhere for your use. Same is the case with the visitors of yours site too - they don't need to download the font from your site; they will be having it in their system already.

Q.5 We did create our pages in Unicode Tamil without using dynamic fonts but yet our site's pages are not visible in Tamil straightaway in 'Latha' font in certain systems. Why?
This happens if you did not specify the 'meta' tag relating to 'character set specification' in your web pages (OR) you specified that meta tag wrongly. The kind of meta tag you should specify at the top of all Unicode web pages is as follows:

<meta http-equiv=Content-Type content="text/html; charset=utf-8">

You may please view the source code of azhagi.com's docs.html page for a better idea of the above tag's placement in your web pages.

Note that the Unicode pages where you have not specified the meta tag properly can still be viewed by the visitors in Tamil if they click the 'View->Encoding' menu item of their browser and select 'Unicode (UTF-8)'.

Q.6 Apart from the 'meta' tag information, is there any other valuable tip which we can adopt for our Unicode web pages?
Yes, you can specify 'Latha' as the first font always in your font-specification tags so that even if in case in the future browsers start using some other font as default (other than 'Latha') for displaying Unicode content, your pages will still show up in 'Latha' font only so that the display layout and font sizes are not affected in any way.

Also, if you have intermixed content in your web pages, i.e. English and Tamil contents mixed up, then it's better to specify 'verdana' and thereafter 'Latha' in your font-specification tags (as shown below)

<div style="text-align:justify;font-size:10pt;font-family:verdana,Latha,Tscu_SaiIndira,Arial Unicode MS;padding:0;margin:0;">

so that the English texts appear more or less of the same size as that of the Tamil texts, thus maintaining uniformity in text size and height. For more information, see the font specification in the source of azhagi.com's docs.html page.

Q.7 Which editor should I use to type my Unicode contents?
  • For creating Unicode website pages in Indian languages (Tamil, Hindi, Sanskrit, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Gujarati, Bengali, Punjabi, Oriya, Assamese, etc.), I always hand-code in Notepad since I found/find that to be the best way to save and retrieve unicode html files, without any corruption to the Unicode contents at any point of time. Whenever you save your Unicode html files in Notepad, you have to save it in 'UTF-8' format and not in any other format (like Ansi, Unicode, etc.).

  • Probably, instead of Notepad, you can consider using some other editor also if you do not encounter any problems. For e.g. Notepad++, Eclipse, etc. In case you succeeded in using any such editor over a considerable period of time, kindly let me know. It will be of use to me also.

  • I have never tried eclipse or notepad++. I am just suggesting them, as one user wrote me that he finds eclipse convenient. That is all. Even in editors like notepad++, there might be an option to save in UTF-8. You have to explore. But, notepad is the best, as far as I am concerned.

    Q.8 If Firefox, Chrome, etc. do not support dynamic fonts, then how do they display Tamil Unicode websites correctly?
    As stated earlier, dynamic fonts are not necessary to display Tamil contents of web sites/pages in Unicode. These websites are automatically displayed by these browsers (and Internet Explorer too) in Tamil, using the default 'Latha' font present in one's system.

    Q.9 If Firefox, Chrome, etc. do not support dynamic fonts, then how do they display certain non-unicode Tamil websites too correctly?
    This is possible if there is atleast one Tamil font of Tscii encoding already installed in visitor's system, by the visitor himself or through any other means (say by installing a software like Azhagi). Firefox does provide a free plugin to view webpages in Tscii Tamil straightaway, without the need of any font in user's system. If the visitor had already downloaded and installed such a plugin in his system, then it's the plugin which does the needful. If the aforesaid situation does not exist in visitor's system, Firefox, chrome, etc. WILL NOT show non-unicode websites in Tamil.

    Q.10 What are the specific advantages of hosting a web site in Unicode?
    Unicode is an "advanced" font encoding technology and it has lots of powerful advantages which are enlisted here. Unicode is the "Universal Standard for now and the future". Unicode is the font encoding system totally recognised/supported by Microsoft and if your website is in Unicode, your website will be searchable in search engines like Google, Yahoo!, etc. If you are unaware that one can search in google in Tamil itself , then click here to see a screen snapshot. Google search in Tamil is possible only when you search in Unicode Tamil.

    Q.11 We have come across Tamil Unicode texts displayed in 'Arial Unicode MS' font. What is this font and will it be available in all Windows systems by default?
    'Arial Unicode MS' font is Microsoft's proprietary font for displaying not only Tamil Unicode characters but characters from many other languages as well - like Malayalam, Kannda, Telugu, etc. etc. It will NOT be present by default in all Windows operating systems. It will be present only in systems where the FULL INSTALLATION of Microsoft Office 2000 (or above) has been effected.

    Q.12 We like the font style of 'Arial Unicode MS'? Can you provide a dynamic font for the same?
    Dynamic font for Arial Unicode MS can't be (should not be) used by anybody for any of their websites, as it is the proprietary font of Microsoft.

    Q.13 We don't like the font style of 'Latha' font for Unicode. Can you provide a dynamic Tamil Unicode font in a different font style?
    Yes, I can (free of cost), if my time permits at all. But then, that will be of no use to you, because, as stated earlier, Firefox, Google Chrome, etc. DO NOT support dynamic font mechanism at all. Just for satisfying your curiosity, you can see this web page (http://azhagi.com/docs-uts.html) which uses dynamic font - it is in the style of 'SaiIndira' font (which font gets installed automatically along with 'Azhagi' application). As already stated, you should view this page in Internet Explorer to see the page appearing in SaiIndira font style and in the correct font size and not in any other browser.

    Q.14 Well, if not dynamic font, what other way is available to show a website or webpage in an Unicode font other than 'Latha'? Because, we do not like the font style of 'Latha' at all. Also, my site's visitors would like to see my Tamil pages in different font styles.
    Well, for your kind information, creating websites in the default 'Latha' font is the best way to create websites, as of now. No other alternative exists. If you wish to use other stylish Unicode fonts for your texts, it can be done only for short texts (as in banners or animations, using flash/gif/etc.). The whole text of your site cannot be provided in a font of your choice, which will be visible to all in that same font in all the browsers.


    Important note

    Out of goodwill, I have hosted the above FAQ, in the hope that they will be useful to those who read the same. That is all. So, use of any of the information above (incl. tutorials, if any, suggested by me) is entirely upto your discretion. In other words, it is absolutely at your own risk to follow any of the information above.