For Windows to be a truly global product, anyone in the world should be able to type in their language. The first step to unlocking text input for the world is to be able to display any of the world’s languages. This is a challenging task, one which most people don’t need to worry about because their language is already supported, but for millions of people around the world getting basic text support has been a problem. The stumbling block in most such cases is a little-known component called a “shaping engine”. A shaping engine is used for so-called complex text layout, which is needed for about half of the world’s writing systems. For many years, Windows customers have been able to install their own fonts and keyboards but before Windows 10, if there was no shaping engine for your script things wouldn’t look right.
Windows 10 contains a brand new shaping engine which covers many more complex writing systems than the ones that came before. As someone who’s into languages (I earn my living with them), this stuff makes me giddy – even if these complex writing systems are beyond my comfort zone. Props to Microsoft for investing in this.