Re: Draft 3 of the proposal to encode an EXTERNAL LINK SIGN in the BMP

From: Philippe Verdy (
Date: Sat Aug 12 2006 - 15:14:04 CDT

  • Next message: Doug Ewell: "Re: Draft 3 of the proposal to encode an EXTERNAL LINK SIGN in the BMP"

    From: "Doug Ewell" <>
    > Andrew West <andrewcwest at gmail dot com>
    >>> ... For example, the closed-lock symbol is often seen in Web browsers
    >>> to indicate an https: connection, and on pages to show that a given
    >>> link leads to a secure site.
    >> And to indicate whether a document is password protected or not, as
    >> for example on the SC2 Document Register page
    >> <>.
    > Sure. It's all over the place. But is it a character?

    Not sure about this: it seems that these open/closed padlock symbols are not technology neutral, and have applications only on the web or computing terminals connected securely to remote sites through unsecure networks. Would you find it elsewhere, for example in printed books or papers or in PDF, except for documenting websites or in the GUI of some terminal emulation software?

    Well, the symbols for this function are not necessarily showing a padlock ("cadenas" in French), we also find the glyph for only an old metallic key (complete or broken), or sometimes a numbered rotating button (like on strongboxes), or a strongbox with an open/closed door. Over time, the browsers have changed the visual association of what is really a visual indicator part of the GUI, and there may be some browsers that use other clues so I'm not sure it is really a standard for the function.

    So if the characters had to be encoded, I'm not sure that it would persist with this association, and so it would only remain the glyph which only represents the physical object itself. But given that various glyphs are already used, how many symbols to encode? It may even happen that in some future some hardware security tool may become standard and have a better technological background, so that web and GUI authors may want to adopt this symbol for its related stronger security, possibly associated to a newer security standard replacing HTTPS in some future and with which it would be desirable to give users a visual distinction (for example the form of the chip contacts on bank/credit/debit smartcards, or the logo of a newer international security standard).

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