Re: PUA convention ID tags

From: John Hudson (
Date: Sat Jan 03 2009 - 12:13:12 CST

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    David Starner wrote:

    > That's why we have Unicode; so we don't have to use PUA-convention ID
    > tags. We encoded the characters, not character that are semantically
    > identical to ISO-2022 escapes. To not encode these characters and yet
    > decide they are important enough that they need PUA convention ID tags
    > is to say that we were wrong in the first decision.

    Indeed. I don't think PUA characters should be used to encode emoji any
    more than I think standardised Unicode characters should be used to
    encode emoji. It seems to me that we're looking at encoding as textual
    characters things that in important respects do not behave like textual
    characters only because someone else has has treated them as textual
    characters (for the purpose of telecom transmission). Since, other than
    transmission, emoji do not behave like other text -- they are not
    supported by normal text layout and font interaction, but as inline
    graphics --, it seems to me that what we're looking at is not character
    encoding as we typically understand it but transmission code
    standardisation. What the telecom companies need is a reliable way for
    one device to tell another device that emoji graphic X should be
    displayed; i.e. they need to send some kind of identifier from one
    device to another. They have been using character codes because it seems
    convenient, but that doesn't imply that this is the only or best method,
    and it certainly doesn't imply that everything that gets transmitted as
    text is text or is suitable content for a text encoding standard. I
    might as easily use a character code as a trigger to play a sound file
    as to display an inline graphic; that doesn't make the sound file a

    John Hudson

    Tiro Typeworks
    Gulf Islands, BC
    The Lord entered her to become a servant.
    The Word entered her to keep silence in her womb.
    The thunder entered her to be quiet.
                 -- St Ephrem the Syrian

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