Re: String name and Character Name

From: Andrew C. West (
Date: Tue Apr 26 2005 - 06:21:48 CST

  • Next message: Peter Kirk: "Re: String name and Character Name"

    On Mon, 25 Apr 2005 14:22:31 -0400, Patrick Andries wrote:
    > Andrew C. West a écrit :
    > >Guilty as charged. It is not at all obvious to me that it is not appropriate
    > >use the Unicode names in a UI.
    > >
    > It is certainly a good thing.
    > >I was thinking of releasing versions of BabelPad and BabelMap with all Unicode
    > >names expunged and "Search by Name" function disabled, just to please Jill and
    > >Peter; but then again I write software to please myself, not anyone else, so I
    > >think I'll leave things just the way they are.
    > >
    > If they are no memory or time constraints, allowing searching aliases
    > would be also good (as an option).

    As you know, searching for aliases, as well as for Unicode 1 names, ISO
    comments, code chart notes and cross-references is already available through the
    "Advanced Character Search" function of BabelMap (and BabelPad).

    It would be trivial to allow alias searches within the main "Search by Name"
    function and/or to auto-correct Unicode typos (e.g. return U+FE18 when the
    search string "BRACKET" is entered); but as I see it, that way can only lead to
    the topsy-turvy world of Word, where the application's "intelligence" overrides
    user expectations. I suppose I could make it an option, but then too many
    options just ends up confusing, and the "average user" will probably have no
    idea what the "Search for aliases as well as character names in Search by Name"
    option means anyway.

    I was thinking about localised character names last night, and from my
    perspective there are severe practical problems to using them instead of the
    standard Unicode names in application UIs. Unicode character names are part and
    parcel of a character's identity, and so exist from the moment that a new
    version of Unicode is released, but localised names for new characters will in
    all probability only be available some time after the release of a new version
    of Unicode. Even with the expertise of WG2 participants such as Patrick, Alain
    et al. the French names for the Unicode 4.1 additions have not yet been
    finalised; when localised Unicode character names are created for dozens of
    locales, reliant on part-time volunteers, there will undoubtedly be a long time
    lag between the release of a new version of Unicode and the updating of the
    various localised name lists; moreover, some localised name lists will be ready
    sooner than others, and some more obscure locales may never get updated at all
    due to volunteers dropping out. I release new versions of BabelPad and BabelMap
    as soon as a new version of Unicode is released, and cannot wait indefinitely
    for all the localised names lists to catch up with the standard. If I change
    BabelMap/BabelPad to use localised character names based on the current system
    locale, what do I do for new additions to the standard for which names in the
    user's locale have not yet been defined ?

    And where does an application expect to get the various localised names lists
    from ? Does it store them internally (BabelMap/BabelPad store all Unicode data,
    including names, internally to avoid the overhead of parsing external files that
    may or may not exist on the user's system), or does it read them from file ? If
    the former, then the application may need to be updated with alarming frequency,
    especially as localised names may be prone to occasional revision. If the
    latter, who is responsible for updating the user's names list files ? Will new
    versions of the files magically appear on the user's system as soon as a new
    version of Unicode is released or updates to one of the files is made (remember,
    not all computers are connected to the internet) ?

    So whilst it would be fairly simple to add an option to use either "Standard
    Unicode Character Names" or "Localised Character Names" to the UI, the
    practicalities mean that I won't be doing this for the forseeable future.


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