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

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Sat Aug 07 2010 - 11:40:12 CDT

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    "William_J_G Overington" <wjgo underscore 10009 at btinternet dot com>

    > I cannot understand from that text, or otherwise at the time of
    > writing this reply, why it would not be possible to have an alternate
    > ending glyph for a letter e accessible from plain text using an
    > advanced font technology font (for example, an OpenType font) using
    > the two character sequence U+0065 U+FE0F.
    > The specific design of an alternate ending e glyph would vary from
    > font to font, yet that it is an alternate ending e would be clear: the
    > encoding U+0065 U+FE0F would allow the intention that an alternate
    > ending glyph for a letter e is requested to be carried within a plain
    > text document.

    I think the "alternate ending glyph" is supposed to be specified in more
    detail than that. The example Asmus gave was U+222A UNION with serifs.
    Even though the exact proportions of the serifs may differ from one font
    to the next, this is still a relatively precise and constrained
    definition, unlike "Latin small letter e with some 'alternate ending'
    which is completely up to the discretion of the font designer."

    Because of stylistic differences among calligraphers—this is a
    calligraphy question, not a poetry question—it is hard to imagine how
    this aspect of the proposal would not result in an unbounded number of
    glyphic variations. 'e' is not the only letter to which calligraphers
    like to attach special endings, and a swash cross-stroke is not the only
    special ending that calligraphers like to attach to 'e'.

    I'd like to see an FAQ page on "What is Plain Text?" written primarily
    by UTC officers. That might go a long way toward resolving the
    differences between William's interpretation of what plain text is,
    which people like me think is too broad, and mine, which some people
    have said is too narrow.

    Doug Ewell | Thornton, Colorado, USA |
    RFC 5645, 4645, UTN #14 | ietf-languages @ is dot gd slash 2kf0s ­

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