Friday, October 31, 2014

Chrome and Emoji

Simple question:

It's a well known limitation but the reason for it is, surprisingly, not common knowledge. Maybe it's a licensing issue?
Maybe a strategy tax?
Maybe something darker?

When you think about it, Chrome would need to render Emoji one of two ways: either (a) bundle a set of Emoji with the browser; or (b) use the system set. It's likely true that licensing constraints make (a) difficult. But what about (b)? Apple introduced Emoji to OS X with 10.7 Lion in Summer 2011. Why can't Chrome just render those?

The answer lies in a Chromium bug report from 2010, in which we discover that Apple's Emoji live in a 32-bit (RGBA) bitmapped font… and Chrome's graphics engine doesn't support such things.

A recent comment on the issue from a Chromium developer notes "The priority over the last year has been DirectWrite and Android, but I'll be getting to this soon".

UPDATE 12/15/2014: the fix is in, and should be arriving in Chrome soon.

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