Re: Prompts: (was RE: A basic question on encoding Latin characters)

From: Frank da Cruz (
Date: Tue Oct 05 1999 - 11:04:36 EDT

> I never saw a prompt that ended in an overstrike character, although
> the bare quote-quad prompt consists of starting a new line without
> typing anything at all. We could find out what the last character
> should be in any other prompt, and we could begin to reply as soon as
> we saw it.
> As I understand the discussion, you have been asking for a technical
> solution to a problem that seems to me much easier to deal with by
> convention. That is, if nobody insists on such bad design as
> minimally distinguishable prompts, users will never be confronted
> with the problem, and we don't have to solve it.
This might be a nonproblem if a prompt that ends in an accented or otherwise
composed character is "highly unlikely" in real life, but in my experience
the close-your-eyes-and-hope-for-the-best approach is rarely good policy in
a field like telecommunications, where Murphy's Law rules. I'd love to
insert a good example here, but the fact that one does not spring to mind
is, perhaps, a good illustration of how telecommunications systems are
designed and built on the limited experience of (often) an English-speaking
engineer without consideration for how they might be used in other locales.

But again, regardless of the likelihood that a prompt will end with a
composed character, if the script execution engine is based on Unicode,
it must either violate Unicode rules (by ignoring the POSSIBILITY that a
combining character will follow) or else risk false positives and deadlocks.

- Frank

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