Re: Fonts, glyphs and infinite Unicode (was String name etc).

From: James Kass (
Date: Mon Apr 25 2005 - 06:18:38 CST

  • Next message: Jon Hanna: "RE: Fonts, glyphs and infinite Unicode (was String name etc)."

    "Arcane Jill" asks the rhetorical question:

    > suppose I wanted to publish a web page about music, using the Unicode musical
    > characters. How would I do that, exactly?

    Well, since the Plane Fourteen tags don't seem to be getting used
    for much of anything, there could be a system of using those
    tags to modify the Unicode music notation characters. See, the
    tags could refer to the character's position on the staff. Then the
    two character combos could be converted to single PUA characters.

    But, who on Earth would do a thing like that when MusicML and
    things of that ilk exist?

    𝄀ķ €°â™­ķ €´đ„´ķ €°đ„†đ…Ÿķ €ŗ𝅘𝅥𝅮ķ €ąđ… ķ ™đ…žķ ™đ„€đ… ķ €ąđ…­ķ €ą

    > The reality is, I simply wouldn't. I'd give up. I'd use IMAGES for my musical
    > notes, not characters. And so would any serious web designer.

    They certainly would, for representing melodies. Of course
    they'd have to have a way of producing the images.

    But, reproducing sheet music, like scores, really requires a
    higher-level protocol, at least for Western musical notation.
    There's all those "ties" and whatnot, not to mention the idea
    that associating lyrics with the melody notes would require
    a different font size, to say the least.

    > Why? Because /there is no way to guarantee that viewers of my web site will
    > possess the required font!/ And in fact, in this particular case, it is HIGHLY
    > LIKELY that they won't.
    > So ... if I can't even use all Unicode characters safely, the chance of my
    > getting away with PUA characters in a web page is basically zilch.

    But, it should be possible to use all of the Unicode characters
    safely. If you just want to describe music characters generically,
    why not use their Unicode characters? After all, if you were making
    a web page about Limbu or Buhid it would probably be safe to
    believe that your users already have appropriate fonts, or can get
    appropriate fonts, or aren't seriously interested in learning from
    your pages.

    It's a lot easier to cut/paste/modify text than it is to do the same
    with images. Searching and sorting and so forth work better, too.

    > ...
    > : p { font-url = "http://url.of.CSUR.font.ttf" }
    > to allow web pages containing Klingon characters to display correctly, and so
    > on.

    So, every time I look at the Klingon page, my system will automatically
    download and install a font I already have? Wouldn't that slow everything
    down? I already seem to be on 'molasses dot com'.

    > So, to summarise - I think there /is/ a problem, but I think that the solution
    > lies with an extension to CSS, and corresponding changes to web browsers to
    > implement that.

    There really should be no problem. Provide your users with font links.
    Or, get a font and embed it. PDFs work, too.

    Best regards,

    James Kass

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