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

From: Chris <>
Date: Fri, 5 Jun 2015 13:26:33 +1000

> I think this stuff could be relatively easy to define and standardise. You could basically define the entire technology in 1 A4 document. People have just got to want it badly enough to agree on it, and give it the imprimatur of the consortium.
> Then define it. It doesn't need Unicode involved at all, unless nobody really wants it enough to use it without it getting tossed into the Unicode package.

That’s like saying that nobody really wanted anything Unicode published because they could have done it themselves. That’s what the anti-custom character arguments around here claim, so why not disband?

The problem at hand is that everybody out there who does have some kind of requirement IS defining their own proprietary solution, which is different to everybody else’s solution. Even on this very thread people can’t decide if the right way to address this is PUAs and custom character maps, or HTML5 snippets, and we’ve had a few other suggestions too!

> I don't really need Facebook (in your example, but substitute for an abusive spouse or a repressive government if it makes you feel better) knowing when I am reading plaintext documents on my own local machine.

Well… I would think in the vast majority of circumstances there would be no downloading involved. A typical scenario would be you use a Facebook app, or access a Facebook web site for example. That would cause downloading all the associated custom characters. Then you might do something like copy your text into say Microsoft word. No downloading because it’s already on your machine. I would anticipate most apps would choose to, if appropriate, cache them in their file format. So if you send the word document to someone else they also would have no downloading. Maybe then if that person decided to cut the characters out of that document into another app, maybe increase the font size or something, maybe then a download would be required.

OK, so what about in that situation, the user takes some action that results in the rendering engine finding an unknown character? I can think of a lot of ways to address that and solve privacy. Here is one possibility. All unknown characters are rendered like this:

Then when you click on the character, the OS’s font engine will locate and download it, and display it to the user. So the user had the choice, leave them unrendered, or download. Pretty simple for the user to learn, and gives them the choice.
Received on Thu Jun 04 2015 - 22:28:42 CDT

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