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

From: Arcane Jill (
Date: Mon Apr 25 2005 - 06:55:57 CST

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    -----Original Message-----
    From: James Kass []
    Sent: 25 April 2005 13:19
    To: Arcane Jill; Unicode
    Subject: Re: Fonts, glyphs and infinite Unicode (was String name etc).

    > 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?

    Er ... because it doesn't work. That's exactly what I'm saying. I'm saying you
    CAN'T use the Unicode characters for musical symbols. Believe me, I've tried
    it. All that happens is that 99% of all web browsers on the planet display
    unknown-character glyphs in place of each Unicode musical character. And that
    doesn't help anyone.

    > 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.

    I don't agree that that's a safe assumption at all. Besides, please don't
    strawman me - I never said anything about Limbu or Buhid. (In fact, I've never
    heard of them). Fact is, when I publish a web page, I want it to be viewable by
    /everyone/. Why? Because when, as a surfer of the internet, I stumble across a
    page which won't display properly in my browser, and I read something like "you
    need to download and install such-and-such in order to view this page", I tend
    to think: "Well I won't bother then". As, I believe, do most people.

    > 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.

    Yes, of course. And I /want/ to use Unicode. Badly. But I'm not going to if my
    web site won't display properly for 99% of all users who look at it.

    > 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'.

    I don't see why it would do that. That would be terribly bad design.

    > There really should be no problem. Provide your users with font links.

    Well, actually, this /is/ the problem. If my web page says "In order to view
    this page, you must first download and install such-and-such-a-font", then most
    people will simply go away. I know I would.

    > Or, get a font and embed it.

    Okay, now we're getting there. How?
    (Actually, I think Jon has already answered that).

    > PDFs work, too.

    True, but kinda not revelant.

    I suspect that you may have misunderstood me. I /don't/ have a practical
    problem which needs a workaround. Rather, I cited a /hypothetical/ problem, as
    an /illustration/ of a reason of why one might choose not to place uncommon
    Unicode characters in an HTML web page. Sorry if that wasn't clear. I don't buy
    "throw away HTML and use PDF instead" as even remotely practical - but I'm not
    looking for a fight. I'm happy with Jon Hanna's answer, which is basically that
    the W3C are on the case, and we just have to wait for browsers to catch up.


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