Re: more dingbats in plain text

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Fri Apr 17 2009 - 23:02:12 CDT

  • Next message: Christopher Fynn: "Re: more dingbats in plain text"

    Asmus Freytag <asmusf at ix dot netcom dot com> wrote:

    >> After 20 years of Unicode, it seems unlikely that there was some
    >> gross lack of foresight in May 2008 concerning the type of symbols
    >> that should or should not be encoded, which suddenly came clear in
    >> December 2008.
    > You'd be surprised.

    Had nothing to do with who made the request, then?

    > (The document gets re-issued constantly, by the way. Be aware that it
    > addresses many topics, not only symbols, and there are many updates
    > that affect only one or two specific items in the text).

    Uh, I did know that, yes.

    >> If the set of symbols is captured by glyphs in a font, though, that
    >> might qualify as a compatibility character set.
    > Generally not. There are too many of them. You need some other
    > considerations. For example, a nearly universally available and
    > accessible set, consistently mapped to a specific font. That's getting
    > closer.

    That might have been what I meant, but said in an overly abbreviated

    >> It's been pointed out that the Zapf Dingbats got in by virtue of
    >> being encoded in the repertoire of contemporary laser printers. That
    >> wasn't a "character set" in the sense of ISO 8859 or Big5 or
    >> Shift-JIS.
    > The latter were "file system" character sets, and later UI character
    > sets - i.e. directly supported by an OS.
    > There were other character sets that were supported *as character
    > sets* by devices and early applications. The early coding community
    > included people from companies that were building such applications or
    > devices.

    I guess your stance is that the emoji fall into this category, supported
    by cell phones. I'd say the W*dings fall into this category too,
    supported by applications like Outlook 2007 that translate "colon plus
    left paren" into "U+F04C, font = Wingdings."

    >> The Wingdings and Webdings family of fonts, distributed with every
    >> copy of Windows for over a decade, absolutely qualify as
    >> "compatibility character sets" according to the guidelines being
    >> applied for the emoji.
    > That is your position. I think it is not without merit, by the way,
    > but the decision whether to accept your reasoning rests with the UTC
    > and WG2. That won't (or can't) happen until you submit a proposal to
    > encode these characters which provides your rationale for making that
    > choice.

    It's coming, sooner or later.

    > PS: By the way, a good portion of these sets (W***dings) is already
    > covered, and of the remaining characters, a good number would also
    > qualify individually under the criteria I proposed for _common
    > symbols_. The proportion of pure compatibility characters is therefore
    > much less than the whole.

    Some are already encoded, some are part of the original emoji proposal,
    some others (like the three globes with visible continents) are part of
    Michael's revised emoji proposal, and some (like CLOCK FACE ONE THIRTY)
    are not encoded or proposed at all. Any new proposal will have to take
    that into account.

    The compatibility set of W*dings still exists, regardless of the
    individual qualification of certain characters. This is the same
    situation as for the emoji: some were already encoded, some would have
    qualified on their own (I always supported the open and closed locks),
    and some could only ride in on the coattails of compatibility.

    Doug Ewell  *  Thornton, Colorado, USA  *  RFC 4645  *  UTN #14  ˆ

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