Re: Lock & Unlock Symbols?

From: Martin J. Dürst (
Date: Sat Oct 11 1997 - 11:04:20 EDT

On Fri, 10 Oct 1997, Doug Schiffer wrote:

> However, one of the projects requirements is to have "lock" and "unlock"
> symbols. I have searched in vain for these in the standards books. Is
> it possible these should be included in the standard?

Hello Doug,

It's a great idea you are supporting Unicode. And looking in the
symbols range for what you need also is quite natural. However,
basically, Unicode is for characters, not for symbols or icons.

The fact that a font allows to store, transmit, manage, and display
a collection of symbols, and that with newer technology, it also
provides for resolution-adapted corrections (hinting,...) and so
on, has over various stages let to the inclusion of quite a wide
range of symbols in Unicode. Also of course, there are things that
are very much part of general text despite their very symbolic
nature, e.g. '?' and '!'.

On the long run, however, it's better to make a difference here.
The web already allows to include graphic symbols and icons into
a text easily, and this is routinely used e.g. for the classic
"NEW" icons. Fonts are still very attractive for storing and
rendering such thingies, but we should look for other technology
to include these in documents than to treat them in the way
Symbol and Bullet fonts are treated currently.

Another point is that there are a great variety of "lock" and
"unlock" symbols. There are broken keys, folders with belts
strapped on, and so on.

So I think in your application, it's best to look at these
symbols as icons or small images and treat them appropriately.
To put them into the private zone, as you have suggested,
is also a possibility. But please note that the private
zone is really truely private, with a guarantee that nothing
is guaranteed there.

Regards, Martin.

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