Re: How to type sporadic Unicode (was: User interface for keyboard input)

From: Martin Kochanski (
Date: Fri Jul 19 2002 - 11:42:48 EDT

At 17:19 19/07/02 +0200, Otto Stolz wrote:
>Martin Kochanski wrote:
>> I was starting to write a detailed reply to Otto Stolz but
>> it was beginning to sound unnecessarily negative;
Otto Stolz wrote:
>Sorry, if I have upset anybody.

M.K. replies:

That bloody pronoun! I meant "it" to refer NOT to your message (which was constructive) BUT to my reply (which was saying "no, that's not what I mean", "no, that's not what I mean", ad nauseam, until I scrapped it).

>I think, an application should provide these ways to enter arbitrary
>Unicode characters:
>- Tell your users about alternate keyboard layouts, in your manuals
> and in your help files, giving examples; and be sure to accept any
> Unicode character from those keyboards.


>- In every field of every window/box in your application, be sure to
> provide Clipboard functionality via Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, and Ctrl-X, for
> Unicode strings; and again, let your users know about it.


>- Provide a menu item to pick any Unicode character from a clearly
> arranged list akin to Word's Insert/Symbol. In that menu
> allow location of a character either by Unicode Range, or by
> Unicode number (in hex),
> allow the user to define their own shortcuts for particular characters.

Up to a point. Menu items aren't quite enough, because you can't call up menus while you are in a dialog box. What I'm thinking of doing is a "Unicode Character Map" command, which pops up a CHARMAP-like window which can stay open while you are editing text, using a dialog box, or anything else.

>- As an additional shortcut for power users, you may provide a way
> to enter Unicode code points, in hex, via the keyboard (ISO 14755).

That's the safety net, and safety nets should indeed, as you say, come at the bottom of things. But equally it's important that they should exist and be usable. I think we're getting closer to that objective...

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