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Paragraph Layout

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This page is about the Paragraph Layout library that is available in ICU4C/C++.

For information about the ICU Layout Engine, including its deprecation notice, see: Layout Engine.

About the Paragraph Layout library

  • The ICU LayoutEngine works on small chunks - unidirectional runs. It does not layout text at the paragraph level.
  • The ParagraphLayout object will analyze the text into runs of text in the same font, script and direction, and will create a LayoutEngine object for each run. The LayoutEngine will transform the characters into glyph codes in visual order. Clients can use this to break a paragraph into lines, and to display the glyphs in each line.
  • Also see the ParagraphLayout API Docs

Building the Paragraph Layout library with HarfBuzz

While the ICU LayoutEngine is deprecated as of ICU 54, the ICU Paragraph Layout library is not. The Paragraph Layout library may be built using the HarfBuzz engine instead of the ICU LayoutEngine. 

UNIX Makefile instructions / Cygwin / Msys / etc. (ICU 54+)

The following steps must be completed in order:

  1.     Build and install a complete ICU with the --disable-layout --disable-layoutex  switches passed to configure
  2.     Build and install HarfBuzz - ​  (HarfBuzz's use of ICU may be enabled or disabled at your choice)
  3.     Build and install the [icu-le-hb] (​ library.
  4.     Now, rerun "configure" on  the exact same ICU workspace used above:
    * with "icu-le-hb" AND the above-mentioned installed ICU available via pkg-config    ( pkg-config --modversion icu-le-hb   should return a version, such as "0.0.0" )
    * with the --disable-layout --enable-layoutex  switches passed to configure
  5.     next, run make install JUST in the source/layoutex directory, to install libiculx and icu-lx.pc 
The above steps will produce a libiculx library that depends on HarfBuzz.

If pkg-config visible installation is not suitable for step 4, you may also manually set the following variables when building ICU in step 5:

  • set ICULEHB_CFLAGS  to the appropriate include path for icu-le-hb  ( such as  -I/usr/local/include/icu-le-hb )
  • set ICULEHB_LIBS to link against icu-le-hb and dependents as needed (such as -L/usr/local/lib -licu-le-hb )