Web browser testing for Unicode Hebrew and CSS @font-face: BIDI, Positioning, and Diacritical Mark Support

Bi-directional and CSS @font-face Unicode Hebrew Text Test Results

GUI Browser Results

GUI Browser Scoring

Supported FeaturePoints Scored
Unicode support1.5
Bidirectional (BIDI) Right to Left (RTL) text1.5
CSS @font-face1
Correct Diacritic Positioning2
SVG 1.1+ images0.25
SVG Hebrew w/ CSS @font-face0.75 (Partial support = 0.50)
Total7 points
OSBrowserLayout EngineUnicode HebrewBIDI RTL@font-face support@font-face errors (Loud/Quiet)Correct Diacritic PositioningSVG 1.1+SVG Hebrew via @font-faceScoreNotes
GNU/LinuxLinks 2.3pre1 (GUI)built-inFAILFAILn/an/an/aFAILn/a0Does not appear to support Unicode or SVG
GNU/LinuxEpiphany 2.30.6WebKit 534.26+PASSPASSPASSQUIETFAILPASSFAIL4.75incorrect dagesh positioning with Ezra SIL SR; ligature error in SVG @font-face
GNU/LinuxKonqueror 4.6.5KHTML 4.6.5PASSPASSPASSLOUDPASSFAILn/a6Appears not to support SVG files.
GNU/LinuxChromium 18.0.1025.142WebKit 535.11PASSPASSPASSQUIETPASSPASSFAIL6.75ligature error in SVG @font-face
Android 2.3.4Firefox 11.0Gecko 11.0PASSPASSPASSQUIETPASSPASSFAIL6.5First browser to support correct Hebrew diacritic positioning!; no SVG + CSS @font-face
Android 2.3.4Android Browser 2.3.4WebKit 533.1PASSPASSPASSQUIETFAILFAILn/a4incorrect dagesh positioning with Ezra SIL SR; does not support SVG
Android 2.3.4Opera Mobile 12.0Presto 2.10.254PASSPASSPASSn/aFAILPASSFAIL4.5
Kindle KeyboardSilkWebKit 528.5+PASSPASSFAILn/aPASSPASSFAIL5.5@font-face fail
Kindle TouchSilkWebKit 531.2+PASSPASSFAILn/aPASSPASSFAIL5.5partial @font-face fail with Miriam CLM when niqqud invoked.
MacOSX 10.7.3Safari 5.1.3WebKit 534.53.11PASSPASSPASSQUIETPASSPASSFAIL6.25Failed to display any text in SVG with @font-face
MacOSX 10.7.3Firefox 11.0Gecko 20100101PASSPASSPASSQUIETPASSPASSFAIL6.5
MacOSX 10.7.3Chrome 17.0.963.66WebKit 535.11PASSPASSPASSQUIETPASSPASSFAIL6.5
MacOSX 10.7.3Opera 11.61Presto 2.10.229PASSPASSPASSLOUDFAILPASSFAIL4.5incorrect dagesh positioning with Ezra SIL SR
Windows 8.1Chrome 32.0.1671.4WebKit 537.36PASSPASSPASSQUIETPASSPASSFAIL6.5
Windows 8.1Firefox 27Gecko 20100101PASSPASSPASSQUIETPASSPASSFAIL6.5
Windows 8.1Opera 17.0.1241.45WebKit 537.36PASSPASSPASSQUIETPASSPASSPASS7
Windows 8.1Internet Explorer 11.0.9600.16384Trident 7.0PASSPASSPASSLOUDPASSPASSFAIL6.5
Windows 8Internet Explorer 10.0.9200.16484Trident 6.0PASSPASSPASSLOUDPASSPASSPASS7
Windows 7Internet Explorer 9.0.8112.16421Trident 5.0PASSPASSPASSLOUDPASSPASSPASS7
Windows XPInternet Explorer 8.0.6001.18702Trident 4.0PASSPASSPASSQUIETFAILFAILn/a4incorrect dagesh positioning with Ezra SIL SR; does not support SVG
Windows 7Safari 5.1.7WebKit 534.57.2PASSPASSPASSLOUDPASSPASSFAIL6Failed to display any text in SVG with @font-face
Windows 8.1Amaya 11.4.7unknownPASSPASSFAILLOUDFAILFAILFAIL3Freezes on our SVG test

GUI Browser Findings

Current GUI-based browsers are almost all doing well supporting CSS @font-face and correct diacritical mark positioning. Firefox Mobile 10+ is the only browser currently passing the diacritical test on Android. Diacritical positioning errors remain an issue for Opera on all platforms except Windows.

The two main differences between most modern web browsers is in how well they support CSS @font-face within SVG vector image files and how they report diacritical mark positioning errors when they render dodgy Hebrew fonts with CSS @font-face.

As of March 2013, only Firefox and Opera provide a simple means for selecting which default Hebrew fonts are displayed in-browser (fixed-width, sans serif, serif, etc.).

CLI Browser Results

CLI Browser Scoring

Supported FeaturePoints Scored
Unicode support1
Bidirectional (BIDI) Right to Left (RTL) text1
Correct Diacritic Positioning2 (Partial Support = 1 point)
Variable Width Fonts0.5
CSS @font-face0.5
Total5 points
Terminal EmulatorBrowserFontUnicode HebrewBIDI RTLFull Diacritic Support w/ Correct PositioningVariable Width Hebrew fontsDisplays ok when CSS @font-face usedScoreNotes
Gnome Terminal 2.32.1Lynx 2.8.8dev7FreeMonoPASSFAILn/aNOn/a1
Konsole 2.6.4Lynx 2.8.8dev7FreeMonoPASSPASSFAILNOFAIL2No niqqud.
mlterm 3.0.2Lynx 2.8.8dev7FreeMonoPASSPASSFAILYESPASS4No Ta'amim
mlterm 3.0.2Links 2.3pre1FreeMonoFAILn/an/an/an/a0Does not appear to support Unicode; Hebrew rendered in ASCII
mlterm 3.0.2ELinks 0.12pre5FreeMonoPASSPASSFAILYESPASS4No Ta'amim
Apple terminal 2.2.2w3m 0.5.2monacoPASSPASSPASSNOPASS4.5Terminal options: xterm-color, character encoding: UTF-8, bash (Thanks Ze'ev!)
Roxterm 1.18.5w3m 0.5.2FreeMonoPASSFAILn/aNOn/a1
Konsole 2.6.4w3m 0.5.2FreeMonoPASSPASSFAILNOn/a3No Ta'amim
Gnome Terminal 2.32.1w3m 0.5.2FreeMonoPASSFAILn/aNOn/a1No Ta'amim
Emacs 23.2.1w3m 0.5.2defaultPASSFAILn/aNOn/a1No Ta'amim
mlterm 3.0.2w3m 0.5.2Ezra SIL SRPASSPASSFAILYESPASS4No Ta'amim. mlterm supports using variable width option. w3m-img! but no svg support yet.

CLI Browser Findings

Text-based browsers Lynx and ELinks must be paired with a terminal emulator and font that supports Unicode, BIDI RTL text, and the full range of Hebrew diacritics. We have not yet found a terminal emulator that will display a font supporting the full range of Hebrew diacritics that also supports BIDI RTL text. The closest is mlterm with w3m and the FreeMono font.

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Hebrew font Browser Test version 0.70 by Aharon Varady for The Open Siddur Project (March 2012).

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