Resurrecting al-Kaatib files
The problem: Before 1987, Nels Draper's al-Kaatib was the only
program that let you write Arabic on the Mac. However, the method used by this
program (which was discontinued after the standard Mac Arabic system appeared)
was quite incompatible with the Arabic system that Apple established.
Therefore, there has always been a great problem with utilzing old files
written in the Kaatib in modern Arabic programs.
The solution: I have created some "paradoids" with Espeh Aarseth's
freeware Paradigma tool, that translates Kaatib files to the Mac
standard. However, this solves this only halfway, as Paradigma only works on
text-only files, and al-Kaatib did not have a "Save as Text Only" option. For
this reason, one needs another, shareware tool like FileBuddy, and you end up
with a procedure like this:
1. Use a file utility like DiskTools, FileBuddy or similar to change the
creator and type of the Kaatib file, from Creator: ARAB to TBB5 (TexEdit), NISI
(Nisus) Win4 (Wintext) or similar and type from ATXT to TEXT.
2. Drag & drop this file on "Kaatib1 > AIS".
3. Open the resulting text-only file "Filename .PD". Select all and change the
font to an Arabic font, and justification to right-adjusted.
You will notice that the first two-three lines are gibberish; that is Kaatib's
file information which is irrelevant; delete until you see the real text start.
The result should be a straight and clean text file.
This brought up some differences between al-Kaatib and the Mac Arabic system
(AIS) which should be noted:
Kaatib has separate forms (glyphs) for fii and (A)llah. These are translated
as f+y and l+l+shadda+h (similar with lam, lii, la', and other ligatures).
Kaatib has a dagger alif, AIS doesn't. I replace that with an a (fatha).
has a madda without a carrier, AIS has only madda on an alif. Following from
common usage (saam as sl-madda alone-'m), I decided to replace it
with space+fatha, so that the formula becomes sl-fatha alone-'m. The madda
without carrier is not likely to be much used otherwise.
Kaatib has a wasla
mark, AIS doesn't. I delete those.
Kaatib has ta marbuta as initial and medial
glyphs: Thus, if you write maktaba, and later add -hu, the marbuta correctly
becomes an medial t. In AIS it won't, it will remain a final marbuta with the
ha as a separate unit. Kaatib is thus neater. Anyway, it's not there, so I
change ta marbutas in the middle or initial (salatuhu) position with normal
Kaatib has numerals in the same place as European numerals. In AIS you can
have both European or Arabic numbers. I use the Arabic numbers.
Kaatib has a
hamza carried on a ha (for Persian). Strangely enough, the AIS although it has
all other Persian characters, doesn't allow that. Anyway, this was what caused
me the greatest problems. Inside the text, Kaatib at regular intervals, about
every other line, inserts a control code sequence for some purpose that escapes
me. When transferred, it shows up as two heh-hamza isolate shapes (with an
invisible ASCII 0 shape between). I was not able either in Paradigma, nor with
find/replace to get rid of that sequence, probably because they couldn't find
the ASCII 0. In the end, what I had to do was to remove all occurences of
either element, both ASCII 0 (which shouldn't be there anyway) and heh/hamza
isolate. Thus, for this technical reason, heh/hamza in isolate forms is
deleted. In the final shape, it is transferred as ha+hamza isolate (which will
appear after), and in initial and medial with hamza carried on ya (which is
what it looks like in those positions). For Arabic, this is the better
solution. If you transfer Persian text, where this sign is supposed to occur
frequently, you may prefer to fill that paradigm cell (with ha+hamza), and
remove the control sequences by hand.
Notice that there were several versions of al-Kaatib, which were incompatible
with each other (!). For this reason, I have created two paradoids, one for the
1.0 version, and one for the 1.3 version (which should also cover any later
versions that were produced). In the 1.3 version, the offending combination that
cropped up isn't heh/hamza, but double isolate ta marbutas.These are not deleted automatically, so you must check
through the document for this combination and see if should be deleted (which
will be true most of the time, of course).
Click here for both Kaatib 1. 0 and 1.3 paradoids. FileBuddy
is on any Info-Mac archive, you should check in your local one under "/info-mac/disk/file-buddy-xxx.hqx" - xxx is a version number that may change, take the latest [In Norway, this this would be the link].
28.4.95, minor update 12.12.96