Re: Proposal to encode an EXTERNAL LINK symbol in the BMP

From: Jukka K. Korpela (
Date: Mon Jul 24 2006 - 06:17:38 CDT

  • Next message: Jukka K. Korpela: "Re: Proposal to encode an EXTERNAL LINK symbol in the BMP"

    On Mon, 24 Jul 2006, Michael Everson wrote:

    > It seems to me that the character as proposed is a symbol found as a text
    > element in a wide variety of printed and on-line sources.

    I can't remember having anything like the proposed EXTERNAL LINK symbol
    appear in printed sources, except in printed copies of web pages that use
    an image resembling it. In online sources, as I mentioned, there is
    considerable variation in the images used for the purpose. I don't think
    we have sufficient grounds for deciding that a particular _character_
    can be recognized.

    If a character were defined, it would at most be used as _an_ external
    link marker, rather than as _the_ marker. Despite the reservations I made
    in my previous comment, there would be sufficient grounds for defining a
    character _if_ a consistent usage and shape could be detected. However,
    as I see it, this is a matter of varying usage of icon-like images as
    external link markers, and defining a character shaped to match one of
    the designs would not sound good. It would mean a policy decision to
    favor one of the designs, and the use of such markers in general, rather
    than a neutral decision to encode a symbol that has actual widespread
    usage in texts.

    Besides, Unicode is about plain text, and links are a hypertext matter.
    Is there some need to use an EXTERNAL LINK symbol in _plain text_?
    Whenever you have links, you are working with hypertext, not plain text.
    The mere possibility of printing a hypertext document or saving it as
    flattened to plain text does not sound like a sufficient reason for
    encoding EXTERNAL LINK as a character. If an image is used as an external
    link marker, it can be printed too, and in formats like HTML, it can carry
    an "alt" attribute that specifies the textual replacement.

    Jukka "Yucca" Korpela,

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