RE: Unicode editing (RE: Unicode complaints)

From: Roozbeh Pournader (
Date: Mon Mar 19 2001 - 17:17:08 EST

On Mon, 19 Mar 2001, Marco Cimarosti wrote:

> I never considered this. For a casual user it is so cute to see the letters
> changing shape, and it is also very instructive for one learning the script.
> But I see how this must be annoying for people typing in Arabic all the
> time.

The great fun, was the advertisement of a Persian word processor named
Nameh Negar that sells really good outside Iran, but not inside. It was an
animated GIF that showed the word precessor writing its name in Nastaliq,
and it was working the "bad" way: with every new letter, the previous
letter changing. The point is that Iranians abroad don't feel any problem,
they may even like the script they'll use only on greeting cards dance
before their eyes. But very few are satisfied with that inside the

> I was suggesting an even more heretic approach: not using Unicode at all
> internally. Rather, I'd translate the Unicode text to an *alternative*
> representation (although it would probably be a sort of "pseudo-Unicode",
> but not quite the same thing), use it for editing, and translate it back to
> proper Unicode only at the end of the editing session.

That's good, but if you only want to edit the text. You will have problems
the first time you want to do anything that needs logical, take sub-word
searching for example.

> What about also adding a time delay? If nothing happens after a certain time
> (say 1 or 2 seconds), the temporary ZWJ is removed.

That's a new idea. It worries me, and you know about the implementation
problems. They user may get really annoyed seeing that. Specially when
she's new to the layout, and needs to search for letters on it. We can
wait until the user does some interesting thing, pressing enter, moving
the cursor, or leaves the focus, and only then remove the ZWJ. If that's
not enough, she can always press the key for ZWNJ on the keyboard.

(The Persian editor I write with, leaves the ZWJ there if I move the
cursor somewhere else, and removes it only if I press enter or insert some
non-joining character after it. And I'm satisfied with it: there are times
that I want to check somethingmany lines above while in the middle of a
word; I don't like my word to get misshaped.)


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