BarTender version 7.7 was released on July 5, 2005. It delivers full-system Unicode support, allowing it to process not only data containing any international characters, but to also handle international characters in names for files, fields, data paths and more. Version 7.7 also adds a number of other improvements, including the addition of the Micro QR Code 2-D symbology.
The Advantages of BarTender's Full-System Unicode Support
Many software applications that can read and print from Unicode databases still have many Unicode incompatibilities. For example, many programs cannot process a file or use a font that has Unicode characters in the name. In contrast, BarTender's Unicode solution addresses every aspect of data processing and data handling, including:
- Data from databases and text files
- Names of data tables and data fields
- Names, paths and network locations of files, printers and servers
- User names and passwords
- Printer fonts
Why the Unicode Standard Was Created
Before Microsoft added Unicode capabilities to Windows, your PC's displayable and printable characters were limited to whatever "character sets" you had installed in your operating system. For example, the Western European character set commonly installed in an American version of Windows includes all the letters of the English alphabet, plus enough accented versions of these characters to reproduce text from any Western European language. However, characters from non-Western European languages would be difficult or impossible to print without installing additional character sets and Windows language support. Unfortunately, Windows character sets and language support optimized for use in Asia and Eastern Europe are going to have similar limitations. And switching between the characters sets is not a trivial matter.
The Problem of Juggling Multiple Character Sets
Microsoft's original solution to the multiple character set challenge is a process called "Code Paging." Windows software applications that took advantage of code paging would execute printer commands and display commands to indicate which character set to use. For complex global business requirements, the software could switch between character sets, but the process was clumsy and it could be temperamental. For example, suppose you were reading from an Access database intended to supply Chinese characters to your software. If your operating system defaulted to the wrong code page and you clicked on a data table to view its contents, you would see "garbage" data that you could not read or modify. (If you have ever seen garbage characters on a foreign-language web page, you are encountering this same code page problem.)
Unicode is a standard that provides an easier, more powerful way to read and print international characters. It is an enormous character set that literally contains all international characters as well as a wide variety of symbols. (For you technophiles, although there are of course Unicode-compatible fonts available, the Unicode standard defines only a character "mapping" - it is not actually itself a font.)
When your operating system is Unicode-capable, software applications that have been properly designed to take advantage of it make it much easier for you to process, print and display data containing any combination of international characters.
Before we go on to describe the other new features appearing in BarTender version 7.7, let us examine in a little more detail about just how Unicode is supported in the new BarTender version.
More Details of BarTender's Unicode Support
Include text from multiple languages in a single text object or data substring.
Import data from databases in which the language varies from field to field and record to record.
Print languages that are supported only by Unicode. (Some languages are so rare their characters appear only in the Unicode character set!)
Take advantage of printer-based Unicode fonts for high performance printing of labels with multiple languages.*
Copy and paste text with multiple languages to and from other applications.
Access files, printers and servers whose names, paths and network locations contain any international characters.*
Read from databases that have international characters in the names of the server, database, user, password, tables and fields.*
Improved support for Windows' Input Method Editors for typing international characters.
Print subscript and superscript characters for chemical formulas, footnotes, mathematical equations, etc.
All Seagull Scientific software applications now support instant switching of the user-interface between international languages (including some situations that previously required a reboot).
*Not available in Windows 98
Other New Features in BarTender 7.7
More Font Style Options - Font Style Emulation lets you choose bold and italic font styles even with fonts that do not natively support these styles. For example, many fonts are equipped only with "Regular" style, but not Bold, Italic, Light, or combinations of styles. BarTender now fills-in the "missing" styles for all fonts in your system, using a technology similar to Microsoft's Font Style Emulation that can be seen in such programs as Microsoft Word.
Expanded Input and Output Data Encoding Options - BarTender 7.7 adds:
More flexible encodings for database reading and BarTender job logging.
Support for Unicode (UTF-16), Unicode (Big Endian), Unicode (UTF-8), and Korean (Johab). Improved Reading Order Support - BarTender 7.7 has expanded control over the appearance of text that mixes right-to-left languages (such as Hebrew and Arabic) with left-to-right languages.
Support for Micro QR Code - This very dense 2D code is useful for encoding more data and international characters in tight spaces.