SC UniPad - The Unicode Text Editor

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SC UniPad - Frequently Asked Questions


Last Updated: 2004-08-19

1. Registration
2. General Topics
3. Platforms, Operating Systems, Installation
4. Font
5. Level of Unicode Support
6. Keyboard


1. Registration

What is the licensing method of UniPad?
UniPad is trialware. The licensing method is as follows: UniPad runs in either unregistered or registered mode. Running UniPad in unregistered mode is free for anyone. Unregistered mode allows viewing of documents without limitiation. Editing is session limited. If you register you will be able to run UniPad in registered mode and this limit will be removed.

How do I register?
You can register online via a secure order form. The order is processed by our e-commerce partners. Available payment methods: credit card, wire transfer, purchase order, check. Purchase orders (net 30 days) are accepted from government and accredited educational institutions, and from corporations, provided that they are submitted on purchase order forms with a purchase order number. Please use this link also to get information about how to order by email, fax, phone and postal mail.

UniPad pre-releases used to be free. Why should I pay for it now?
UniPad has been provided for free since 1998. This period of time has been used to find out the real requirements and needs of the users and we would like to thank the users for giving us feedback and providing their suggestions. UniPad was always intended to become a commercial product, eventually. This allows us to provide professional service, to continue development and to extend our product range to meet our customers' need.

What's the reason for the session limit?
Strictly speaking, Sharmahd Computing does not distinguish between commercial and non-commercial use of the software. Rather, we think that anybody who is using UniPad for medium and large projects should support the further development of UniPad by paying for it. Anybody who uses UniPad only occassionaly or with very small projects may use it for free. Also, anybody who uses UniPad as a viewer only, is permitted to use it for free.

What does this mean for commercial users?
It doesn't matter whether you are using UniPad for profit purposes or not.
Example: one person in your company has to create Unicode text files and 50 other persons are just reading them. You will need only one license for editing purposes. All other licenses for viewing purposes are free.

After all, what are the benefits of registration?

  1. Editing is not more session limited.
  2. Free technical support by email in English or German.
  3. Discount price for the next release.
  4. Discount prices for future products and special offers.
  5. Special prices for consulting services.

What are exactly the restrictions in the unregistered mode?
Running UniPad in unregistred mode is "Session-Limited". That means within the session time after starting UniPad there are no restrictions at all, so you will be able to evaluate and use all features. After the session time you can save your work and restart UniPad for a new session.

What will I actually get when I register?
You will receive a registration code. If you enter the registration code, UniPad will run in registered mode and the document size limit is removed.

When do I get my registration code?
You will receive your registration code by email within 48 hours. Usually you will get it much faster.

I have been waiting for more than 48 hours, where is my registration code?
If you do not receive a message from Sharmahd Computing within 48 hours, this is probably due to technical problems (email filters, etc.). In this case please use our online feedback form and give us either an alternative email address or a fax number, where we can send a copy of the registration confirmation message.

Will I be able to order UniPad on a CD-ROM with a printed manual?
No. UniPad is not shipped on CD-ROM or any other data media. The only way of distribution is through the internet via FTP or HTTP. A printed manual is not shipped either. However a manual version of the UniPad Help file is available as a PDF document. You may download it and print it out on any printer.

2. General Topics

What is SC UniPad (not)?
SC UniPad is a Unicode text editor for the Windows operating systems. It allows you to enter plain Unicode text, save and load it in different formats and it provides a lot of features to help you working with Unicode text.

UniPad is not a multilingual word processor. It does not support text formatting and it is not language oriented. It is not intended to replace sophisticated publishing systems.

What is the current version?
The current version is 1.20 .

Where can I get it?
UniPad can be downloaded from the UniPad website. The URL is: http://www.unipad.org/download.

Who is the creator of UniPad?
Sharmahd Computing, Inc. We are located in Glendora, California, U.S.A. and Hannover, Germany. Sharmahd Computing began creating UniPad in 1997 as part of the internationalization and localization requirements of its software development projects in the automobile and electronics industries.

3. Platforms, Operating Systems, Installation

On which platforms does UniPad run?
UniPad runs on Microsoft Windows. It has been tested with Windows NT 4.0, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows ME and Windows XP. No service packs or additional components are required.

What are the minimum/recommended requirements?
UniPad even runs on a 486/66 (16 MB) with reasonable speed. It occupies less than 8 MB of harddisk space. To work comfortably with UniPad it's more important to have a relatively fast graphic adapter. Today's computers are all fast enough. You should have at least a screen resolution of 800x600 pixels to fully display the character map window.

Can I install UniPad without the setup program?
Yes. Please refer to the download site for manual installation instructions.

Are there any restrictions on Windows 95/98/ME?
No, all functions are available, despite the fact that Windows 95/98/ME does not support Unicode. Almost all Unicode functions that are provided by Windows NT/2000/XP are not available on Windows 95/98/ME. However, UniPad uses its own Unicode layer to fully support Unicode on all Windows platforms. You might have problems if you want to exchange Unicode text via the clipboard on Windows 95/98/ME. However these problems are caused by the restrictions of the application you want to exchange data with.

Will UniPad be available on Linux and other Unix platforms?
Yes. We plan to release UniPad 2.0 for Linux and probably for other Unix platforms.

Does UniPad run on WINE?
Yes. WINE is a system that allows you to run Windows applications on a Unix platform. UniPad has been tested on WINE 20031016. The basic editor functions all work correctly. However, there are some problems regarding clipboard data exchange operations.

Please note that the WINE platform is not officially supported by Sharmahd Computing! If something does not work correctly we cannot provide support. Please contact the WINE team if you notice any difference in UniPad's behaviour between WINE and standard Windows platform. We are willing to cooperate with the WINE team to fix any glitches. For more information see www.winehq.com.

Does UniPad run on a PDA? No, currently not. There are many operating systems in use on PDAs (Palm OS, Windows CE, Embedded Linux), so we have to decide which platform we would support first. We are interested in providing UniPad for PDAs and we are constantly watching the PDA market, but the are no concrete plans now.

4. Font

Why does UniPad come with its own font?
Our goal was (and is) to provide a Unicode editor that really works instantly without installing fonts. Therefore we supply a font built into UniPad, which is especially designed for use with UniPad only. UniPad shall be capable of displaying all Unicode characters of the Unicode planes 0 and 1 without the need for additional fonts.

Normally, Unicode-aware software uses the fonts installed on your system. That means you have to gather all fonts by yourself (no fun). In addition this method has some serious disadvantage if you rely on cheap fonts. A lot of freely available (TrueType) fonts lack quality, which means they are almost unreadable on screen. This is a real problem with a character set like Unicode which supports over 95,000 characters (Unicode 3.2.0) and a lot of them look quite similar. Moreover, the fonts must include correct Unicode character information, which is missing in many freely available fonts.

We decided to give the reliability of correct character display a higher priority than the ability to choose between arbitrary third party (TrueType) fonts.

Isn't the UniPad font TrueType?
No. UniPad uses a bitmap font format. A bitmap font allows a visual optimization for a specific character size. Today (with a typical screen resolution of 96 dpi) an outline font (like TrueType) can hardly achieve the quality of an optimized bitmap font.

The main disadvantage of bitmap fonts is the lack of scaleability. As a result the font doesn't look as nice as TrueType when printed with a resolution of 300 or 600 dpi.

Will UniPad support smaller font sizes?
There is a physical limit that prevents one from making small fonts. The current size of the UniPad font allows non-spacing marks (like circumflex) to be 3 pixels in height. If non-spacing marks would be smaller they probably can't be distinguished from each other by the reader.

The only real solution is to increase the display resolution. But that is outside the scope of a Unicode editor.

Can I zoom the screen fonts?
No. Theoretically it is possible to stretch a bitmap font, but the resulting quality is not acceptable, especially if you use fraction zoom factors. Zoom factors smaller than 1 may produce totally unreadable output.

However, stretching is used for printing to compensate the higher resolution. The result is of no high quality but it is acceptable, thanks to the higher resolution.

Smooth stretching with gray shades could be a possible solution, but it is not supported by the UniPad font engine at the moment.

5. Level of Unicode Support

Why isn't language X supported?
Unicode does not know languages. The Unicode standard defines abstract characters from various scripts. Each of these scripts may be used for several different languages. All characters should be displayable without additional language information. Language information is subject to a higher-level protocol.

A "higher-level protocol" could be XML, for example. XML markup may contain information about the language of the content. This depends on the type of XML application, i. e. how the XML will be processed. With UniPad you can edit such XML file, but any language information is not used by UniPad.

Language support may be added to an upcoming version via plug-ins. That would allow one to install a plug-in that is able to handle a specific language. Plug-ins may be offer language specific function, spell and grammar checking, hyphenation, recognition of word boundaries, and so on.

Why isn't script X supported?
There are two possible reasons: either it's not supported by Unicode at all or it's not supported by UniPad. Please refer to the Unicode standard to see if a specific script is supported. Alternatively you can browse through the UniPad character map.

If it's not supported by Unicode we won't include it into UniPad.

If it's not supported by UniPad the answer is: we try hard to support all scripts. We have to differentiate between the simple inclusion of the glyphs into the UniPad font and the implementation of special text processing algorithms.

Why isn't script X correctly rendered?
UniPad does not support proper rendition of some scripts. Please refer to the features roadmap for an overview.

6. Keyboard

What is the keyboard layout window in UniPad good for?
The keyboard layout window is a visual representation of the chosen keyboard layout. UniPad allows you to select a certain keyboard layout independently from Windows.

The different available keyboard layouts in UniPad are intended to be a help for people who know more keyboard layouts. Consider e.g. a Greek person who lives in Germany for a while and uses German keyboard layout, but she still knows the Greek keyboard. If she uses UniPad to write Greek, she can switch to Greek layout and she will be able to touchtype. If she forgot some keys, she can turn on the keyboard layout window.

What is the "System" keyboard layout in UniPad?
This is the current keyboard layout of the operating system. It depends on your current locale settings (e.g. German/Swiss or English/US). Normally, if you don't use foreign keyboard layouts there is no need to change it.

The system keyboard layout has no visual representation, since it is virtually impossible to derive the visual representation from the Windows keyboard driver.

I'm missing some characters on the layout. Where are they?
All supported layouts are (better: should be) absolutely identical to the keyboard layouts defined in Windows. Some layouts miss characters that some people need very often. Also these layouts are not intended for bilingual or even multilingual use.

All keyboard layouts are designed mainly for a single language. There are no special keyboard layouts for bilingual people or for special purposes. We can't invent a lot of possibly useful layout variations. However you can create your own keyboards easily.

Why doesn't it work with all hardware keyboards?
Usually it works with most available hardware keyboards. UniPad provides a keyboard emulation. There are two possible solutions: to map all characters from the US keyboard layout (default) to the target layout or to completely by-pass the keyboard driver. Some available multilingual applications use the first method. It has a main disadvantage. Users outside the US have to explicitly select the US keyboard to work with the application. Even worse, ALTGR combinations do not work.

UniPad uses the second method and by-passes the keyboard driver. UniPad directly interprets the scan codes of the physical keys to map them to a specific character. This has a disadvantage, too. Scan codes depend on the keyboard type. We decided to support the PC/AT Enhanced Keyboard, because it is used most often. At the moment UniPad cannot support other keyboard types.



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