Character Description Language (CDL)

字形描述语言 (字描语)

An XML application for rendering and indexing Han (CJKV) characters

Technology Overview

  • Wénlín Institute’s CDL (Character Description Language) is the world’s most powerful new font technology.
  • CDL is the engine (C source code) behind CJK Unicode megafonts, breaking the 64K glyph barrier! (A CDL font can contain an unlimited number of glyphs.)
  • CDL is an XML application a standards-based font and encoding technology designed for precise and compact description, rendering, and indexing of all 漢/汉 Han (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese = CJKV) characters, encoded and unencoded.
  • CDL is a font database with descriptions for nearly 100,000 characters, including complete Unicode 7.0 CJK character support, and more!
  • CDL means consistent stroke/component analyses, built-in indexing and variant mappings, and high-quality graphic images as outlines convertible to SVG, PostScript, MetaFont, and more.
  • CDL is a compressed binary with an incredibly small memory footprint (1.4 MB: 1,443,206 bytes), suitable for use in limited-memory mobile devices that want full Unicode CJK support.
  • CDL technology has applications for machine learning, for handwriting recognition and input methods, for optical character recognition (OCR), and most importantly for human language-learning.
  • The basic elements of CDL are a flexible two-dimensional coordinate space, and a set of basic stroke types. Using these simple elements, CDL provides a framework for describing characters and components, and for (recursive) reuse of character and component descriptions in the descriptions of other characters and components.
  • CDL adds new dimensions to the UCS code space, with a variant mechanism for associating an unlimited number of CDL descriptions with any Unicode codepoint.
  • Each CDL description can be associated with zero or more Unicode code points, making CDL the ideal tool for extending The Unicode Standard.
  • CDL has applications beyond CJK, for organizing information underlying the rendering of any complex script.

Start Using CDL Today!

To start using CDL in your work today, see the Wenlin User’s Guide and contact the CDL team.