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

From: Martin Kochanski (unicode@cardbox.net)
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.

Yes.

>- 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.

Yes.

>- 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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