Re: Chromatic text. (follows from Re: [unicode] Re: FW: Inappropriate Proposals FAQ)

From: Michael Everson (
Date: Mon Jul 08 2002 - 11:57:16 EDT

At 15:19 +0100 2002-07-08, William Overington wrote:

>Actually I was trying in the posting upon which you comment to suggest that,
>even if people do not agree with me about having colour codes in a plain
>text file, they might perhaps consider as a separate issue the adding into
>regular Unicode of a zero width operator whose use would be to indicate that
>a character, such as U+1362, should be decorated chromatically.

no no No No NO. Characters are not distinguished by colour,
unconfirmed statements about Aztec notwithstanding.

>This would mean that a sequence U+1362 ZWJ ZWCDO could be used in
>documents, which would give a chromatically decorated glyph with a
>chromatic font yet would just give U+1362 as a monochrome character
>if the font did not recognize the U+1362 ZWJ ZWCDO sequence.

This is NOT ligation, and it is NOT what the ZWJ is for, and it is
NOT an appropriate extension of the

>My opinion is that splitting text files into just two categories, either
>plain text or markup is not sufficient, but that there should perhaps be
>more categories or, if there are but two categories that the dividing line
>between them should be in a different place.

Ten billion documents on the internet and the entire course of modern
text processing indicate that it is unwise to hold the opinion that
you do. Why don't you simply admit that you have been barking up the
wrong tree and initiate more useful work? We have been about as civil
as you can expect, though I am sure you have noticed that my own
patience with this silliness is about at an end.

>I tend to base the essential dividing line upon whether the encoding
>of the file of code points is meaningful if one tries to compute the
>effect of a code point upon the system as simply the effect of that
>code point as it stands, without having to have software recognize a
>character such as < and determine that a markup bubble is being
>entered then to have to read in several more characters within the
>markup bubble before taking any action as a result of the first
>character in the sequence (that is, the < character) being read.

Well get over it. You have seriously misconstrued the difference
between "plain text" and "rich text". Both have been in use for many,
many years and no one has had much trouble with it. Wondering
"whether the encoding of the file of code points is meaningful" is
not going to gain you very much in this line of misreasoning.

>That distinction means that each Unicode character is processed as
>it is received within the main loop of the program, without the
>receiving of a < character putting the processing into an inner loop
>within a markup bubble, within which bubble ordinary Unicode
>character codes which are read have a
>different meaning than in the Unicode specification.

Processing of characters happens at many different levels. All I can
say is that it is clear that you do not know what you are talking

>To me, such a distinction means that people who are using lower cost, more
>generally available software packages, might by such an approach be able in
>the not too distant future to use files in a non-proprietary portable format
>and get much better results than just using monochrome traditional plain

Balderdash. In the first place, those imaginary people are not
expressing a user need for your pseudo-solutions. Real people use
markup to colour their texts, and have been since the first colour
monitors were introduced and MacWrite made it possible. What was
that, 15 years ago?

>Perhaps some sort of consensus over nomenclature for three categories of
>text file could occur, namely plain text in the manner which you like it,
>plain text in the manner in which I like it and markup. Maybe plain text,
>enhanced text and markup would be suitable names. How do people feel about
>that please?

I feel ill.

>It is unfortunately the case in discussions that when someone disagrees with
>an idea that is put forward that he or she is more likely to respond in
>public than if he or she agrees with an idea which is put forward, or has
>simply read about the idea and just notes it as an interesting possibility.
>This can have the effect that many people may agree with an idea or at least
>not be against it yet make no comment, perhaps giving an impression that an
>idea is not well received at large when in fact that is not necessarily the

Don't fool yourself. Your "plain text in the manner in which you like
it" is a lementable abuse of character codes to effect the same
results which real markup of various kinds has been able to do for
decades. I assure you, the ranks of this list are not filled with
people agreeing with you.

Michael Everson *** Everson Typography ***

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