Re: Exciting new software release!

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Thu Apr 03 2003 - 11:55:54 EST

  • Next message: John Cowan: "Re: Exciting new software release!"

    William Overington <WOverington at ngo dot globalnet dot co dot uk>

    > Have you considered the possibility of a similar program to encode a
    > string of ASCII characters as plane 14 tags please, with an option
    > checkbox to include the U+E0001 character at the start and an option
    > checkbox to include a U+E007F character? That would be a very useful
    > program which could be used in conjunction with SC UniPad to marshall
    > plain text which uses language tags.

    Heh heh heh. You have just described a program I wrote last year called
    LTag, which was designed precisely to provide quick and easy entry of
    Plane 14 language tags and which I used to offer for free on my Web

    Actually it was even cooler than you described; it included a complete
    and up-to-date list of ISO 639 and ISO 3166 codes, so the user could
    simply select the desired language and (optionally) country *by name*
    from a drop-down list OR type the codes manually. ISO 3166-2 country
    subdivision codes were included too, so codes like en-us-ny (for New
    York English) could be constructed. The country subdivision list was
    automatically updated when the country was changed.

    There was a check box to create a cancel tag, as you mentioned.
    Everything was validated according to RFC 3066, so an invalid code like
    "a" or "en-a" could not be created.

    Upon clicking the OK button, the completed language tag was copied to
    the clipboard, where another program such as -- you guessed it -- SC
    UniPad could paste it in. In fact, I originally wrote LTag as a
    prototype for possible addition to UniPad. Luckily, the UniPad
    development team saw the writing on the wall sooner than I did regarding
    Plane 14 tags.

    What happened to LTag? Well, as everybody knows, the Unicode Technical
    Committee strongly discourages the usage of these tags, to the point
    were they were almost deprecated earlier this year. They are permitted
    only in "special protocols," and are certainly frowned upon for use in
    arbitrary plain text, which is what LTag was for. So, in an attempt to
    restore some of my lost Unicode "street cred" I removed LTag from my
    site. I still keep the program around, but only as a reference to ISO
    639 and 3166 codes.

    Just as users should not fling Plane 14 language tags around in plain
    text, they also should not use Mathematical Alphanumeric Symbols to
    create bold, italic, or double-struck effects in plain text. In case
    this is not clear, the user interface and operability of MathText is
    very real, but its intended use is a COMPLETE JOKE. Ha ha! April Fool!
    Please download MathText and get a good laugh -- or use it to test your
    font, as one person told me he would -- but please, please don't misuse

    -Doug Ewell
     Fullerton, California

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