I’m a part of the team developing a web (ASP.NET) project used by a number of customers in the Middle East. We use Crystal Reports for reporting purposes, and for the most part, it works great. However, from time to time, we run into some issues related to CR support for Arabic language.
Couple of days ago, I got to deal with a problem regarding a report that worked perfectly for several months. The report is used on daily basis by our clients and it was odd that the problem would occur now, since nothing has been changed in neither Crystal Reports file, nor the data filling it.
The issue was strange, since for some data, the report would be displayed as usual, and for the other, some characters (e.g. all zeroes in the document) were replaced with symbol. So, for example, this is how the date was shown in pdf file:
To make the issue even stranger, when that same date was copied to the clipboard and pasted into notepad, this was the result:
To my surprise, the date was there, just not properly displayed!
I was banging my head against the wall trying to understand why this was happening, until I found out that is actually a diacritic in Arabic. Then I thought the problem might have something to do with a specific letter contained in the file. Further investigation led me to alif tanwin (اً), which is basically letter alif (ا) with the tanwin diacritic. Now, I don’t speak Arabic, but I was told that alif can be used without tanwin, and that it won’t change the word meaning. After replacing اً with ا, everything started working fine!
I couldn’t find much help on the Internet, except for some forum posts stating the same thing – that the replacement should be made. Other than that, as for why the issue occurs, and is there a way to fix it, I didn’t get the answer. If anyone can shed some light on the issue, I would be grateful!