From: John H. Jenkins (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue May 27 2008 - 11:30:01 CDT
On May 27, 2008, at 5:06 AM, Mark E. Shoulson wrote:
> Russ Stygall wrote:
>> Could any of the users of the word "stateful" tell me what they
>> mean by the word, and could they then put an entry into Wikipedia
>> for everyone else?
> It means something that can can be in one of several "states", by
> which we mean that a given action or input or whatever can mean
> different things depending on some other information, namely the
> "state" that the system is in at the time.
> So in some editors, when you're in one mode, the "k" key might mean
> "move up one line", and in another mode it might mean "insert the
> letter k here." Regarding David Starner's statement:
>> Generally, things that are stateful, like language tagging
>> and italics are not considered plain text.
> which I presume is the origin of this question, the reference is to
> the fact that things like language tagging and italics affect some
> persistent memory of the system reading the text. When you hit a
> "begin English-language text" tag, you have to remember, when
> interpreting text, that it should be interpreted according to
> English-language conventions, until you hit the "end" tag. That is,
> you have to remember you are in English-language state. Same with
> italics. To a renderer, a "k" in italic-mode is not the same as a
> "k" in Roman mode: they get represented with different glyphs.
While true, all this is really a red herring, since statefulness isn't
the main issue. UTF-16, after all, is stateful: if you lose the BOM,
things can look very different.
Unicode's criterion is minimal legibility: Information which, if
lost, has no or very little impact on the ability of the end-user to
read the text is, as a rule, considered formatting information and
something to be handled by higher-level protocols. I can read the
word "chat" even if I don't know whether it's English or French and
therefore what it means.
John H. Jenkins
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