Accessing alternate glyphs from plain text (from Re: Draft Proposal to add Variation Sequences for Latin and Cyrillic letters)

From: William_J_G Overington (
Date: Fri Aug 06 2010 - 04:03:10 CDT

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    On Thursday, 5 August 2010, Kenneth Whistler <> wrote:
    > > I am thinking of where a poet might specify an ending version of a glyph at the end of the last word on some lines, yet not on others, for poetic effect. I think that it would be good if one could specify that in plain text.
    > Why can't a poet find a poetic means of doing that, instead of depending on a standards organization to provide a standard means of doing so in plain text? Seems kind of anti-poetic to me. ;-)
    > --Ken
    Well, I was just suggesting an example. I am not an expert on poetry.
    It would not be a matter of a poet depending on a standards organization, it would be a matter of a standards organization noting that adding alternate glyphs to fonts is a modern trend and doing what it can to facilitate access to those alternate glyphs from plain text in a standardized way.
    For example, suppose that an alternate ending glyph for a letter e is desired at the end of a line of a poem. I am thinking that U+0065 U+FE0F could be used to do that.
    It seems to me that as U+0065 U+FE0F is presently unused and that there are also other variation selectors not used with U+0065, that it would do no harm and would be useful for U+0065 U+FE0F to be officially standardized as requesting an alternate ending glyph for a letter e, yet using the ordinary glyph of U+0065 of the font if an alternate ending glyph of the letter e is not available within the font.
    The standards organizations have a great opportunity to advance typography by defining some of the Latin letter plus variation selector pairs so that alternate glyphs within a font may be accessed directly from plain text.
    William Overington
    6 August 2010

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