Bhasha SETTdeco is a web service given through a web widget that enables the user to read Sinhala & Tamil Unicode web contents even in the absence of Sinhala/Tamil support in the computer being used. Once the SETTdeco widget is installed by the developer on a given Sinhala/Tamil website or blog the web service will be automatically provided via the widget. If the visitor to the site is using a computer which does not have Sinhala/ Tamil Unicode support the SETTdeco widget will instantly detect it and do the job of decoding & rendering Sinhala/Tamil Unicode contents. The user can now view the content as he would on a Sinhala/Tamil supported computer.
Unicode has enabled the use of local language, Sinhala and Tamil, on the Internet. However, a majority of Sri Lankan computer users do not benefit from the Unicode facility due to various reasons. Foremost being the fact the most commonly used to operating system in Sri Lanka, Windows XP, does not have Sinhala Unicode support by default. Manual installation of Unicode (Sinhala or Tamil) is thus required and users who are unable to do so cannot read Unicode characters in websites or contribute to blogs in local languages. It also adversely affects the Government’s attempts to serve citizens with a range of online services in local languages. Some companies have even resorted to using non-standard methods such as use of text images in place of Sinhala/Tamil Unicode text or using non-Unicode fonts. Not only is this practice costly, it affects the usefulness and accessibility of the content since these websites are not non-searchable by search engines and precludes application of online translation facilities.
By the end of August 2011, four months after deployment, Bhasha SETTdeco has been installed in 1,229 Sinhala/Tamil web sites & blogs including some of the more popular news websites. Since Windows XP OS will have a long run in Sri Lanka, SETTdeco designers are optimistic about its long term sustainability for desktop web rendering.