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Re: with unicode?

From:Mat McVeagh <matmcv@...>
Date:Monday, November 4, 2002, 2:16
>From: Joe <joe@...> > >Is there such a thing as a Generic unicode font? > >I'm just I need to add some diacritical marks which don't have >individual characters...and I kind of want to be able to see them...
I have been working on this issue of how to do different characters on computers a lot over the last few days. It is so complicated. It seems there are at least 5 parts to the structure: 1) Encoding systems 2) Character sets 3) Fonts 4) Keyboards 5) Composing and displaying applications There is a lot I don't understand about the whole situation. In particular I don't understand about all the different encoding systems. (It is such a confusion.) Encoding systems are originally based around character sets (i.e. new encoding systems were devised to cover character sets that previous ones didn't). But with Unicode the idea is to have one single encoding system that covers all character sets - laudable. 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? 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. And, seemingly, there are not fonts yet for all areas of Unicode. 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. 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. 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.) Or Hotmail? How about webpage design programs? All I know is FrontPage Express. I have yet to try it with Unicode :S. 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? And will your readers, to whom you have sent your masterpiece, or who are browsing your site? I find it all hopelessly confusing. I want to get this sorted out before I start entering lots of data re my conlangs because I don't want to have to retype a lot of stuff because of some incompatibility. But the trouble is, I don't even really know what I don't know. I don't know what questions to ask. Hee are some of the best software and resources I have found so far: Unicode: Sharmahd Computing UniPad: very nice little text editor geared towards Unicode, includes built in fonts and 'virtual keyboards', plus you can design you own, check it out Keyboards: Tavultesoft, these people are brilliant also this one: Unicode Keyboards For Linguists: Fonts: Fonts for Scholars (David Perry): plus he does some keyboards to go with Tavultesoft Keyman Dr. Berlin's Foreign Font Archive only a few are Unicode tho. And of course SIL Can anyone help??? Mat _________________________________________________________________ Broadband? Dial-up? Get reliable MSN Internet Access.


Muke Tever <mktvr@...>
John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Herman Miller <hmiller@...>