Encoded rendering instructions (was Unicode's Mandate)

From: Dean Snyder (dean.snyder@jhu.edu)
Date: Sat Mar 05 2005 - 17:03:09 CST

  • Next message: Jon Hanna: "RE: Encoded rendering instructions (was Unicode's Mandate)"

    Peter Constable wrote at 9:22 AM on Saturday, March 5, 2005:

    >>Jon Hanna wrote at 3:15 PM on Saturday, March 5, 2005:
    >>>UList Doug wrote at 1:15 AM on Saturday, March 5, 2005:
    >>>I would love "flexibility" like an "eXtensible Glyph Format".
    >>Sounds like an interesting idea.
    >No, it sounds completely meaningless. ...

    [And yet Peter continues:]

    >I suppose if he was referring to a format for representing
    >meta-information about abstract glyphs, then extensibility could make
    >sense since there may be all kinds of arbitrary information about a
    >glyph that someone may wish to record. ...

    Which brings up something I have been pondering for some time.

    In transcriptions of damaged ancient texts it is important and useful to
    indicate roughly the extent of damage to a glyph. Of course, this is not
    a substitute for direct examination of the original document, but it is a
    useful property for programmatic processing of ancient texts and their
    approximate renderings.

    Currently there are various competing, proprietary systems for indicating
    glyph damage, using combining marks, punctuation, or markup. I've been
    wondering if it made sense to actually encode a standard set of rendering
    instructions so text rendering engines and/or fonts can appropriately
    draw designated portions of damaged glyphs in plain text.

    For my purposes I envision a set of nine characters that specify what
    areas should be subtracted from, or de-emphasized in, the glyph when rendered:

    * upper left corner
    * upper center
    * upper right corner
    * right center
    * lower right corner
    * lower center
    * lower left corner
    * left center
    * center

    The rules for their use are rather simple:

      a) These rendering instruction characters would precede the visible
    character they modify.
      b) Any number of them can be used, disallowing duplicates.
      c} Any order is allowed, with ordering being insignificant.

    So I have two questions:

    1) What do you think from an encoding point of view?

    2) Would any of the major text rendering systems even consider
    implementing such a system if it were encoded? By implement, I mean, for
    example, in plain text draw all of the letter "A" as normal, except its
    lower right corner in a lighter shade to indicate damage there.


    Dean A. Snyder

    Assistant Research Scholar
    Manager, Digital Hammurabi Project
    Computer Science Department
    Whiting School of Engineering
    218C New Engineering Building
    3400 North Charles Street
    Johns Hopkins University
    Baltimore, Maryland, USA 21218

    office: 410 516-6850
    cell: 717 817-4897

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