PDF Plugin progresses

As many have seen on our alpha releases then our PDF plugin is has been progressing fast in the past days.

I had both technical and mental setbacks on it, realising that the libharu that we use under the hood has some serious drawbacks. Libharu has TrueType embedding to be able to support UTF 8, but issue there is that it can basically only embed .ttf TrueType fonts, not OpenType or any other TrueType format, which limits it very much. In theory it should be able to open also bundled TrueTypes but I was not able to open the bundled ones in the Mac system folder.

I feared that this and the encoding mess of the stock font system in PDF would make it so hard for users to use that it would be best to cancel the project.  And there is little or no hope that Libharu is going to get better with this as Libharu seems to have no development or maintainers right now so hoping for it to improve the TrueType embedding is a no go.  And I have no knowledge to do what would be needed to update Libharu to support OpenType and the missing true type format and complete the unicode support.

But after sleeping on it and giving it careful thought then I came up with the plan to add automatic detection of encodings and let it be able to use the PDF stock fonts as much as possible, making it far easier for the user to use even if its not UTF8 with the stock fonts. Then it will figure out what your text needs, and adjust encodings to make it work, so if your document has Icelandic letters then it will figure that out and set up correct encodings, same if it has Japanese then it will set that up automatically. This idea seems to be working for most parts, so there should be some of this to see in the upcoming a5 version.

I would really like feedback on the a5 when it comes, to see if  users think this is good enough solution. Since if it is not then we might as well cancel this plugin before going much further.

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