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VNI vs. Microsoft
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Upon Microsoft's unauthorized use of these technologies, VNI took Microsoft to court over the matter. Microsoft settled the case out of court, withdrew the input method from their entire product line, and developed their own input method. It has, although virtually unknown, appeared in every Windows release since Windows 98.
Despite the growing popularity of Unicode in computing, the VNI Encoding (see below) is still in wide use by Vietnamese speakers both in Vietnam and abroad. All professional printing facilities in the Little Saigon neighborhood of Orange County, California continue to use the VNI Encoding when processing Vietnamese text. For this reason, print jobs submitted using the VNI Character Set are compatible with local printers.
VNI invented, popularized, and commercialized an input method and an encoding, the VNI Character Set, to assist computer users entering Vietnamese on their computers. The user can type using only ASCII characters found on standard computer keyboard layouts. Because the Vietnamese alphabet uses a complex system of diacritical marks, the keyboard needs 133 alphanumeric keys and a Shift key to cover all possible characters.
VNI Input Method
Originally, VNI's input method utilized function keys (F1, F2, ...) to enter the tone marks, which later turned out to be problematic, as the operating system used those keys for other purposes. VNI then turned to the numerical keys along the top of the keyboard (as opposed to the numpad) for entering tone marks. This arrangement survives today, but users also have the option of customizing the keys used for tone marks.
With VNI Tan Ky mode on, the user can type in diacritical marks anywhere within a word, and the marks will appear at their proper locations. For example, the word trường, which means "school", can be typed in the following ways:
- 72truong → trường
- t72ruong → trường
- tr72uong → trường
- tru7o72ng → trường
- truo72ng → trường
- truo7ng2 → trường
VNI Tan Ky
With the release of VNI Tan Ky 4 in the 1990s, VNI freed users from having to remember where to correctly insert tone marks within a word, because, as long as the user enters all the required characters and tone marks, the software will group them correctly. This feature is especially useful for newcomers to the language.
VNI Auto Accent
VNI Auto Accent is the company's most recent software release (2006), with the purpose of alleviating repetitive strain injury (RSI) caused by prolonged use of computer keyboards. Auto Accent helps reduce the number of keystrokes needed to type each word by automatically adding diacritical marks for the user. The user must still enter every base letter in the word.
The VNI Encoding uses two characters to represent one Vietnamese vowel character, therefore removing the need for control characters to represent one Vietnamese character, a problematic system found in TCVN (VSCII), or using two different fonts such as in VPSKeys, one containing lowercase characters and the other uppercase characters.
This solution is more portable between different versions of Windows and between different platforms. However, due to the presence of multiple characters in a file to represent one written character increases the file size. The increased file size can usually be accounted for by compressing the data into a file format such as ZIP.
VIQR and VNI-Internet Mail
The use of Vietnamese Quoted-Readable (VIQR), a convention for writing in Vietnamese using ASCII characters, began during the Vietnam War, when typewriters were the main tool for word processing. Because the U.S. military required a way to represent Vietnamese scripts accurately on official documents, VIQR was invented for the military. Due to its longstanding use, VIQR was a natural choice for computer word processing, prior to the appearance of VNI, VPSKeys, VISCII, and Unicode. It is still widely used for information exchange on computers, but is not desirable for design and layout, due to its cryptic appearance.
VNI was the only well-known company to fully recognize the potential of VIQR. VIQR's main issue, however, was the difficulty of reading VIQR text, especially for inexperienced computer users. VNI created and released a free font called VNI-Internet Mail. VNI-Internet Mail utilized the VIQR encoding and VNI's two-character technique to give VIQR text a more natural appearance.
- Telex (input method)
- Vietnamese Quoted-Readable (VIQR)
- Guide to inputting Vietnamese text at the Vietnamese Wikipedia