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How to Read Arabic Text on the Internet

Please check with vendors (or their web sites, provided below) for system requirements, features, compatibility, installation, configuration, known bugs, security fixes, technical support and pricing (if not free)

MS Arabic Windows 95 or 98 (Enabled or Localized) and MS Windows NT 4.0 Arabic Enabled: use one of the following:
Arabic MS Internet Explorer 3.02 (stand alone browser, preserves formatting).

Microsoft’s Web Address: http://www.microsoft.com
This works for both Arabic and English pages and switches automatically according to language as specified in the header.
Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.01 for Middle East: Works with both Arabic Windows 95 and Windows NT 4.0 Arabic Enabled. The full installation contains FrontPage Express which is modified to handle Arabic html’ing. Supports Arabic and English, updated for stylesheets and dynamic HTML.

Windows NT 4.0 Arabic Enabled: This version of NT comes with MSIE 3.02 Arabic already with the system.
Sakhr’s Sindbad (requires 32-bit Netscape V. 3)
Netscape: http://www.netscape.com
Sakhr’s Web Address: http://www.sakhr.com
Alis Tango (Alis Technologies)
Alis’s Web Address: http://www.alis.com
Accent’s Multilingual Mosaic
Accent’s Web Address: http://www.accentsoft.com
You may be able to read Arabic text on Arabic Windows 95 using an English browser like Netscape or MSIE, but the text will be left aligned and formatting along with layout will be lost. Numbers will not display correctly, nor in the right place. To be able to do that, you’ll need to change font settings.

MS English Windows 95, 98 or Windows NT (may work on Pan European versions as well):

MSIE 5.0 (New): we tested MSIE 5.0 on Windows 95, 98 and NT4 (we mean English Windows!). MSIE 5.0 works very well for viewing but you won’t be able to edit, enter Arabic search terms or fill forms in Arabic on the English platform. In most cases (unless you change system fonts to Arabic), page titles will show as ?????). Remember to run custom/limited setup and check the Arabic language support when you install Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 (be ready for over 10 MB download). Also, don’t put IE5 on Arabic windows 98.
Other solutions: Sakhr’s Sindbad for Netscape 3 or 4, Accent’s Multilingual Mosaic, Alis Tango (latest versions)
Please see links to these vendors above and make sure you read their system requirements.

MS Windows 3.1x, Windows NT 3.50:
If you have Arabized DOS you may be able to use Lynx (Text only browser). With Windows 3.11, Windows for Workgroups 3.11 with Arabic support, both Netscape and MS Internet Explorer (English versions) allow you to view Arabic text (layout and format will be lost), earlier versions of Netscape may work better.

MS Windows2000 (NT 5):
Windows2000 (originally NT 5) is still in beta as of this writing, but it contains support for many languages including Arabic. The built in browser is Arabic aware and the task becomes easier. However, pages with sloppy HTML code will not display well.

MAC OS:
Note: on March 29, 2000, we were notified of a product by Digital Ventures called WinArabic Script for displaying Arabic webpages and composing mail on Mac systems. The site address is http://www.moughamarat.com/. Comments are welcome.
If you have Worldscript installed (Arabic fonts included), you may be able to view Arabic text (without the layout, mostly left aligned and some lines mixed up – especially if the line contains a period in the middle). Basically, if you can type in Arabic on your Mac you’ll be able to set the font (fixed and proportional) to any Arabic font you have. This works with both Netscape and MS Internet Explorer if the html file is in the ISO (standard Character Set) Arabic. Mac Arabic is close to ISO (also known as ASMO) but not identical. There is no full browser support for Arabic on MAC OS to the best of our knowledge (regardless of coding sets), but you may want to try CyberDog from Apple (requires system 7.5.3 or later). It used to be available for download at: http://cyberdog.apple.com/download/dodownload.html, but last time we checked, this link was dead.
Now, CyberDog (in version 2) can be downloaded from: http://www.cyberdog.org/ and may exist on Apple OS CD version 8. Our understanding is that CyberDog supports both ISO and CP Arabic.
Currently, Arabic2000.Com pages with Arabic text are coded in the cp-1256 character set and can’t be viewed on MAC machines without a helper application (and we don’t know of any). We hope to add a Unicode version of our pages soon.
We heard that some Mac users manage to use old browsers or fool settings with new ones (like choosing an Arabic font for western encoding). Some reported problems with charset meta tags confusing Netscape and ended up downloading pages and viewing them locally after some editing.
Unix /Linux users:

PMosaic from Global Publishing or Langabox’s AraMosaic (may require root authorization to install). AraMosaic can save html files in either coding set.

Global Publishing Web Address: http://www.gpg.com
Langabox Web Address: http://www.www.langbox.com
Browser and Operating System Independent Solutions:
These solutions either work with the latest versions of Web browsers (4.x) or require special software or server support:
* PDF files: text edited and saved in .pdf format using Adobe Acrobat.

Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to view (available from Adobe at http://www.adobe.com).
* Dynamic Fonts and StyleSheets: These works with browsers versions 4.x or later only. One example we know of is Nuun (http://www.nuun.net).

* Java based sites: Some sites allow you to read Arabic by embedding a Java Applet on their server. This will work if the Jave Applet is version compatible with the Java interpreter that came with your browser (3.0x or later)

In some cases you may need to change font size or configure the browser to recognize a user-defined language (or font). Some require manual code page switching as well. In Netscape, see under the Preferences menu. In MSIE, font size is under View/Font and fonts are under view/options/font settings. Note that Arabic MSIE version 3.02 does not need any user intervention to work. It detects the code page on its own (provided the source has the right character set tag), but you may want to enlarge/minimize the font size for comfortable reading. For the Arabic pages here at Arabic2000.com, we did our testing using MSIE Arabic version 3.02 on Enabled Arabic Windows 95 and Arabic Windows NT 4 as well as MSIE 5.0 on Arabic windows NT4 and English Windows 95.

We welcome your feedback and comments about this page. Please feel free to drop us a line.

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