Recently I was going through the online version of the teachers' guides from the National Institute of Education Sri Lanka (NIE). The major issue I noticed in those documents was, they have been written using non-unicode fonts (Sinhala - DL-Manel-bold and Tamil - Bamini). It should be noted that converting them to unicode is not very difficult given the UCSC converters. However the practical difficulty of using non-unicode fonts to the shared documents is, the other users are expected to have that particular font in their system. Copy-pasting into a plain text editor becomes impossible. Still I have seen many web sites asking to download the particular font to view their site correct. Some sites even ask the users to use Internet Explorer or some other specific browser. I would rather request them to change their site to unicode than asking each user to install their not-so-sexy font.
Here is a sample of the above mentioned issue.
mEka Odjlh - Written using DL-Manel-bold, which appears as garbage text here.
පෑන් ධාවකය - After converting to Unicode using the UCSC Font converter.
Similarly for Tamil
Ngid nrYj;jp - Bamini
பேனை செலுத்தி - After converting to Unicode using the UCSC Font converter.
I could also notice during the recent series of IT seminars in Jaffna peninsula, that the students who mentioned that they can type in Tamil were actually referring to their ability of typing using Bamini font. I guess we have created an awareness of Unicode among them. Unicode is much essential, if we really want to go beyond mere typing in local languages.