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Re: with unicode?

From:Muke Tever <mktvr@...>
Date:Monday, November 4, 2002, 3:10
From: "Mat McVeagh" <matmcv@...>
> But it seems a lot of things can't or don't use Unicode. So if we use > Unicode will it always work? I.e., will we be able to read what other people > are writing, and vice versa? If not, how do you get around it?
Conversion software.
> Secondly, suppose you plump for Unicode as I now am doing. (I am planning to > be writing in languages with lots of different accents, IPA, and it would be > nice to do e.g. Greek. I don't want to have to switch between encoding > systems or character sets. I don't really know how to.) That doesn't mean > you can just type or read everything. Oh no. You have to have special fonts > installed. All the old fonts are useless.
I don't think any old fonts should be useless: TrueType fonts (the most common on Windows) are Unicode-capable. The only fonts that are "bad" are the fonts that are bad to begin with (e.g. one that would map gamma to n-tilde just so that it could be typed from the keyboard).
> And, seemingly, there are not fonts yet for all areas of Unicode.
There's Code2000/Code2001, which are not entirely pretty, but are usable.
> Next... you get Unicode up, you've got the fonts installed... now how do you > type the characters? You need a special 'keyboard'. I.e. a protocol for > interpreting keystrokes on what physical keyboard you have as characters. > (Of course you could use Character Map or an equivalent but let's face it > that is hopelessly laborious and fiddly.) So... you need to download special > keyboard drivers that link in to particular characters. If you are using > Unicode of course these must be Unicode keyboards; no other keyboards will > do. And it seems you can only type in some fonts if you have the appropriate > keyboard for them, etc. etc.
You wouldn't necessarily need keyboard drivers. A decent unicode-aware editor would allow you to define your own keyboard layout any way you wanted. [And there is at least one that does this, SC UniPad, which you already mentioned.] There is also IME software out there that enables international character input...
> OK. You have Unicode, relevant fonts to display your chosen character sets > with, relevant keyboards to type the characters with nice and easy. Now... > where do you type them? Any old where? NO! You cannot do Unicode at all with > Notepad.
No problem here.
> Someone suggested you might be able to with Wordpad, but I have yet > to see how. MS Word, certainly, which you would expect. (But I find it a > big, clunky, cumbersome program for anything less than a dissertation. Too > many options, not easy to get in and out of.) How about Outlook Express? (I > am struggling.)
Outlook Express can certainly send messages in UTF-8; it's been done on the list before [but not usually, as the listserv tends to mangle some bits].
> Or Hotmail?
Depends on your web browser (and, indirectly, your operating system...)
> How about webpage design programs? All I know is > FrontPage Express. I have yet to try it with Unicode :S.
I do mine in UltraEdit, which supports Unicode entry (but I generally use &#xxxx; instead of a format like UTF-8, which may not exactly be the Right Thing...)
> Let's suppose you have found a way to compose neatly in Unicode, and can do > textfiles, word-processed documents, webpages, typing in different fonts and > character sets in the same piece, and hence can mix ordinary text with your > accented conlang and phonetic transcriptions. Now... will your browser show > it properly? Will it handle Unicode properly? Or all the relevant fonts?
Mine will, as long as the page has set its properties correctly [On some pages kanji will appear and on some the same kanji won't...]
> And will your readers, to whom you have sent your masterpiece, or who are > browsing your site?
Produce an low-ASCII or alternative version (PDF maybe) if there is an accessibility problem. *Muke! --