how is a unicode char mapped to font glyph?

am wondering, that each char in unicode has a code point; what's the analogous term for a character in a font?

i never understood the part of the process when a decoded file needs to be mapped to font (or fonts, by some modern font substitution techonolgy)

for example, if i have a file with the greek alpha α (U+03B1). What's the exact process for a app to choose a particular a particular character in a font? (and what happens in the case of a rare unicode char say the heart ♥ (U+2665).)

does a font contain meta info about what symbols it has?

if 2 fonts both have the symbol alpha, do they necessarily share the same “code point”? or is it dependent on the type of font such as Type1, Type3, TrueType, OpenType? ...

Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer_font doesn't say much about this.

thanks for any pointers or references.

Xah ∑ http://xahlee.org/ ☄

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