Re: Hexadecimal in many scripts (ISO 14755)

From: John Cowan (
Date: Mon Jun 07 1999 - 10:22:56 EDT

Kenneth Whistler wrote:

> > <typing along happily in Hiragana>
> > <need a U+6B62>
> > <switch to Han keyboard>
> > <enable magic CJK input mode>
> > <type "to ma" and pick U+6B62 from list>
> > <disable magic CJK input mode mode>
> > <switch to Hiragana keyboard>
> > <keep typing along happily in Hiragana>

I think that no such switches are performed, for the most part,
and that one is not typically in "Hiragana mode" as such, but
rather in "Japanese mode", in which the Hiragana sequence "to ma"
automatically presents U+6B62 as soon as it is typed, subject to any
grammatical weeding that may be done.

> Also, to echo Peter's concern, entry via hexadecimal Unicode value
> is always going to be a matter of very last resort. No one except
> numerical freaks are going to remember more than a handful of the numbers
> for input.

I chose U+2323 for a reason: it is very unlikely to appear on any
keyboard, and even fairly unlikely to appear in any list of
"frequently used non-keyboard characters" that a particular
IME may provide. It's just a freak, a highly specialized
character that you want when you want it and not otherwise.

> If you want to cast blame for what
> interrupts a user's train of thought in entering text, it would be
> in the memory recovery process, or more likely, opening and pawing through
> the 1000-page standard looking up the number to enter, not in the
> keyboard shortcuts or mouseclick needed to activate an alternative
> keyboard and/or input method.

You could provide a standalone lookup program, but then one might
ask "Why not integrate it with the IME?" Good question. But here
again localization is a problem. It's fairly easy to provide
a Pashto keyboard, but a Pashto localization of (part of) the
Unicode Standard is perhaps less probable. So the Pashto user
must again switch from Arabic to Latin keyboards to look up the
English or French Unicode character name. It's a hard problem.

John Cowan
	You tollerday donsk?  N.  You tolkatiff scowegian?  Nn.
	You spigotty anglease?  Nnn.  You phonio saxo?  Nnnn.
		Clear all so!  'Tis a Jute.... (Finnegans Wake 16.5)

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