Re: New FAQ page

From: James Kass (
Date: Fri Oct 12 2007 - 17:28:51 CDT

  • Next message: Philippe Verdy: "RE: New FAQ page"

    Kenneth Whistler wrote,

    >> Now, if I understand your paragraph above correctly,
    >Apparently not.

    Then the paragraph was poorly written.

    >That is what the standard says about these variation
    >selectors, and it was the express intent of the UTC in
    >encoding them in the first place.

    Blowing glass into a shape with the intention of producing
    a water glass doesn't mean an end user won't expect the
    vessel to hold non-aqueous substances.

    >The standard does not *prevent* font developers from putting
    >visible display glyphs for variation selectors in their
    >fonts, any more than it prevents them from putting
    >visible display glyphs for CR or SPACE or ZWJ.

    It shouldn't. Reality, however, is that if certain rendering
    engineers follow the FAQ, rendering engines would fail to
    display those visible display glyphs *WHEN THEY ARE DESIRED*.

    >But heading down the path of doing all that fancy work to
    >visibly indicate the presence of invisible things "out of
    >place" needs to be balanced with the countervailing
    >need for displays not to provide too much hidden information
    >*WHEN IT IS NOT DESIRED*. As an end user, I might view
    >a Japanese web page that had been all meticulously
    >marked up with variation selectors to pick out specific
    >glyphs from the Adobe set -- but I've got some generic
    >font that doesn't have any support for all those
    >specific glyphs. Why should I then be treated to the
    >spectacle of a page full of VS glyph boxes that effectively
    >make the page illegible to me?

    Why? Because you've got some generic font that doesn't have
    any support for all those specific glyphs. Because the author
    of the page took the time and effort to meticulously insert
    characters (not mark-up) which are intended to produce
    specific results, and your system isn't capable of rendering
    those results. If *I* was the author of that page, and your
    system fails to display that page as I intended for that page
    to be displayed, I'd really want your nose rubbed in that fact.
    If *you* wrote that page, and I couldn't display it as you
    intended, I want *my* nose rubbed in that fact.

    >The standard spells out the basic legibility requirements
    >for character display -- that is part of what it means
    >to be a plain text character encoding standard, by the

    By the way, I'd mentioned in an earlier post that part
    of what it means to be a plain text character encoding
    standard requires that the standard define plain text.
    And that means the standard spells out a basic legibility
    requirement of plain text. Although legibility is
    display-related, the display of characters is more related
    to typography than to encoding.

    > Typographers can then go to town, doing whatever
    >fancy business they want to to support scripts well
    >and to make text display beautifully. What I expect,
    >however, is that when they *don't* support something
    >in particular, that they don't blow chunks all over the
    >page for certain classes of characters that are
    >intended to be invisible on display. That is, of
    >course, unless I've specifically chosen a BlowChunksOn
    >parameter somewhere indicating that I want to see the chunks.

    If your selected font maps display glyphs to characters
    which you think should not be seen, you've specifically
    chosen a parameter you don't like.

    Just out of curiosity, which freeware, plain-text, Unicode
    supporting editor do you recommend which has a 'show
    hidden' mode and which will work on my OS?

    Best regards,

    James Kass

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Fri Oct 12 2007 - 17:32:38 CDT