Re: Jumping Cursor. Was: Right-to-Left Punctuation Problem

From: Gregg Reynolds (
Date: Mon Aug 01 2005 - 18:57:14 CDT

  • Next message: Gregg Reynolds: "Re: Jumping Cursor. Was: Right-to-Left Punctuation Problem"

    Mark E. Shoulson wrote:
    > Gregg Reynolds wrote:
    >> But I get the distinct impression such a proposal would have virtually
    >> no chance of adoption. Am I overly pessimistic?
    > It's a non-starter. Aside from the valid objections already mentioned,
    > it just breaks the logic of Unicode (such logic as there is). The
    > implication then is that the "3" in a price in an Israeli catalog is
    > not, in fact, the same symbol (underlying Platonic character) as the the
    > "3" in a Russian catalog.

    Hi Mark,

    Maybe its the size of the problem I'm not understanding. To take your
    example, let's suppose that RTL digits 0-9 are approved tomorrow.
    They're no different than their LTR equivalents, except for the
    typesetting semantics. That is, they share the same "underlying
    Platonic character", if I've understood you: they mean the number three.
      They just have different *typographic* semantics.

    So if I have a spreadsheet app that doesn't understand RTL digits, well,
    how is that different from not understanding Khmer, or Thai, or any
    other Unicode block? And if I want to adapt, how hard is it? As far as
    typesetting is concerned, I don't need to make any changes at all. I
    can mod my software to handle a digit class instead of individual chars
    (e.g. nine-class includes 9-LTR and 9-RTL) or I can add a filter to
    convert incoming RTL digits into the ones my program understands. The
    only thing I see as a (possibly) big annoyance is the need to either
    modify math routines to be polarity-sensitive or to add a filtering
    layer to make sure the digit strings fed to math routines are in the
    expected polarity. Not exactly free, but not exactly rocket brain
    science either.

       All those characters are pretty well agreed
    > to be "the same ones" in RtL as they are in LtR scripts. If all you
    > need is override directionality, well, that's why God created
    > directionality override characters.

    Yeah, but in fact nobody ever uses those. It's a nice theory, but in
    practice, software that "behaves" according to Unicode just seems wierd
    to RTL users. People here in the West would go berserk if they were
    forced to deal with similar headaches. I can't even count the times
    I've just given up because *I couldn't even edit* monolingual Arabic
    text because of MS Word's bizarro behaviour with parens, punctuation,
    etc. After ten minutes of trying to get it to behave in some semblance
    of a reasonable manner, I just end up deleting and starting over. It is
    very clear to me that the only reason anybody uses such software is
    because they have no other choice, not because they are satisfied with it.


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