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DirectWrite Glossary

BiDi (Unicode feature)

Pronounced "By-Dye". Text that contains a mixture of words, from different languages, that must be read in different directions. Often requires special code to process. "Arabic and Hebrew are BiDi languages; the text goes right to left, but the numbers go left to right."


A font display technology that dramatically improves font display resolution so that letters on the computer screen appear smooth, not jagged. ClearType dramatically improves the readability of text on color LCD monitors with a digital interface, such as those found in laptops and high-quality flat-panel desktop displays.


A hardware-accelerated, immediate-mode, 2-D graphics API that provides high performance and high quality rendering for 2-D geometry, bitmaps, and text. The Direct2D API is designed to interoperate well with existing code that uses GDI, GDI+, or Direct3D.


A DirectX API that provides improved high-quality text rendering and interoperability with GDI and Direct2D.


An extension of the Microsoft Windows operating system. DirectX technology helps games and other programs use the advanced multimedia capabilities of your hardware.


An executable program that processes graphical function calls from a Windows-based application and passes those calls to the appropriate device driver, which performs the hardware-specific functions that generate output. By acting as a buffer between applications and output devices, GDI presents a device-independent view of the world for the application while interacting in a device-dependent format with the device.


The physical representation of a character in a given font. Characters might have many glyphs, with each font on a system potentially defining a different glyph for that character.

glyph composition

The combining of two or more glyphs into a single glyph.

glyph decomposition

The splitting of a single glyph into multiple glyphs.

glyph Run

A set of glyphs in a specific order, with the same formatting characteristics such as font face, size, weight and style.

hardware-accelerated text

Text rendered by a technology that uses hardware acceleration to improve rendering performance.


The ability for two or more APIs to work with and transmit information between one another.


The spacing applied between specific pairs of letters within a particular word.


The adjustment of the spacing between two characters to create the appearance of even spacing, fit text to a given space, and adjust line breaks.


Two or more characters combined to represent a single typographical character. The modern Latin script uses a few. Other scripts use many ligatures that depend on font and style. Some languages possess mandatory ligatures, for example, Arabic.

smart pointers

A class that wraps COM interface pointers that will automatically release the interface object.


Ornamental addition to a character that makes for a more stylistic glyph.


A character-encoding standard developed by the Unicode Consortium that represents almost all of the written languages of the world. The Unicode character repertoire has multiple representation forms, including UTF-8, UTF-16, and UTF-32. Most Windows interfaces use the UTF-16 form. (GTMT has 20 definitions).

Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)

A GUI framework used by the .NET Micro Framework 3.0, Windows Vista, and Microsoft Silverlight. The .NET Micro Framework GUI classes are loosely based on WPF.



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