Coloring plain text and other fancies

From: James Kass (
Date: Thu Oct 11 2007 - 01:56:16 CDT

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    People proposing styling and formatting characters often
    seem surprised by the expeditious (“rude”) fashion in which
    their schemes are dismissed by list members.

    The rôle of plain text as defined in the Standard is here: §2.2 (General Structure - Unicode Design Principles,
    under the heading plain text). It is clear, concise, and

    To be frank, I would use italics and related features in plain
    text applications if only it were possible. But, it isn’t. By
    definition, adding styling/formatting information enriches
    the text — it should be clear that it is no longer plain.

    There’s nothing wrong with working towards a standard way
    of exchanging text styling/formatting data. Using unique
    code points as mark-up might even make the most sense
    technically. However, under the current Unicode principles,
    proposals to standardize styling, et cetera, could not be
    considered because they go beyond the scope of a plain text

    It is possible that standardizers currently working with the
    Unicode project would support styling standardization, even
    to the point of becoming contributors/authors/architects.
    It is also possible, though, that existing sundry mark-up
    practices may suffice. Glad it’s not my call.

    Best regards,

    James Kass

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