[XeTeX] arabxetex vs. xepersian

Gareth Hughes garzohugo at gmail.com
Sun Oct 3 22:41:23 CEST 2010

Axel Kielhorn wrote:
> Reading the documentation of the XeTeX packages I want to mention in lshort, I came across two packages for Farsi:
> arabxtex supports:
> arab (Arabic)
> farsi (persian)
> urdu
> sindhi
> pashto
> ottoman (turk)
> kurdish
> kashmiri
> malay (jawi)
> uighur
> xepersian supports only Farsi, but adds command names in Farsi as well.
> The later seems to be aimed at native speakers.
> Is there any reason to prefer one over the other?
> At the same time I noticed that there is no package for Hebrew.
> Is bidi (and a correct font) sufficient to write Hebrew?
> Are there any fonts recommended for either language?
> Axel

Hi Axel!

It seems there has been more heat than light on this issue. RTL
typesetting is possible natively under XeTeX. Bidi seriously refines and
simplifies this, so that now I would never attempt RTL typesetting
without it. Polyglossia is the Babel replacement, and it interfaces
nicely with Bidi when RTL languages are selected.

ArabXeTeX does a similar job to Polyglossia when it comes to font set-up
and commands for language change. However, ArabXeTeX specialises in
using input in Latin transliteration to render Arabic. It is designed to
work with the various languages that use Arabic-derived scripts. I don't
find this that useful (though I know some do, and respect their
preference), seeing as I can enter both Arabic and the Latin diacritics
needed for scientific transliteration in Unicode.

XePersian does something completely different. It adds some valuable
tools that refine Persian typesetting. It adds /kashida/ justification
and Persian-language aliases for commands (it's annoying to have to
change script/keyboard and text direction to enter commands). XePersian
also defines commands for setting up fonts, like Polyglossia and
ArabXeTeX. It also provides commands for setting up a range of Persian
fonts in traditional (and not so traditional) shapes, in a similar
fashion to the TeX trinity of roman, sans and mono.

Apologies to the venerable authors of these packages if I have
misunderstood their artistry.

I hope this helps.


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