Custom characters (was: Re: Private Use Area in Use)

From: Ken Whistler <>
Date: Wed, 03 Jun 2015 17:57:45 -0700

On 6/3/2015 5:17 PM, John wrote:
> so what?
> There should be a standard way to put custom characters anywhere that
> characters belong and have things “just work”.

Well, that's the rub, isn't it?

We (in IT) are still working pretty dang hard on the simpler problem, to

There should be a way to put *standard characters* anywhere that
characters belong
and have things "just work".

And even *that* is a hard problem that has taken over 25 years -- and is
still a work in

What you are asking for is not much removed from:

There should be a *standard *way to put "*stuff-I-just-made-up*"
anywhere that characters
belong and have things "just work".

See, the first barrier to getting anywhere with this goal is to get
everybody concerned
with text in IT (or perhaps even worse, all the hundreds of millions of
people who
*use* characters in their devices) to agree what a "custom character"
is. And if
the rollicking "discussions" underway about emoji have taught us much of
it includes the fact that people do *not* all agree about what
characters are or
what should be a candidate for "just working" -- or even what "just
work" might
mean for them, in any case.

So before declaring that your position is self-evidently correct about
how things
should just work, it might be a good idea to put some real thought into how
one would define and standardize the concept of a "custom character"
precisely that there would be a snowball's chance in hell that all the
of text out there would a) know what it was, b) know how it should
display and
render, c) know how it should be input, stored, and transmitted and d)
know how it
should be interpreted universally.

Received on Wed Jun 03 2015 - 19:58:45 CDT

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