Editing Sinhala and Similar Scripts

Peter Constable petercon at microsoft.com
Wed Mar 19 22:43:05 CDT 2014

If you click into the existing text in this email and backspace, what keystroke will you expect to be "erased"? Your system has no way of knowing what keystroke might have been involved in creating the text.

What is _can_ make sense to talk about is to say that a user expects execution of a particular key sequence, such as pressing a Backspace key, to have a particular editing effect on the content of text. "Erasing a keystroke" and "keystrokes resulting in edits" are different things. One makes sense, the other does not.

It may seem like I'm being pedantic, but I think the distinction is important. Our failure is in framing our thinking from years of experience (and perhaps some behaviours originally influenced by typewriter and teletype technologies) in which a keyboard has a bunch of keys that add characters, and variations on that that even include a lot of logic to get input keying sequences that can generate tens of thousands of different character; but then one or two keys (delete, backspace) that can only operate in very dumb ways. (We've also always assumed that any logic in keying behaviours can be conditioned only by the input sequences, but not by any existing content, but that steps beyond my earlier point.) These constraints in how we think limit possibilities


-----Original Message-----
From: Doug Ewell [mailto:doug at ewellic.org] 
Sent: March 19, 2014 9:39 AM
To: Peter Constable; unicode at unicode.org
Subject: RE: Editing Sinhala and Similar Scripts

Peter Constable <petercon at microsoft dot com> wrote:

>> There are two types of people:
>> 1. those who fully expect Backspace to erase a single keystroke
> It is nonsensical to talk about erasing a _keystroke_.

But that's what they expect.

Doug Ewell | Thornton, CO, USA
http://ewellic.org | @DougEwell

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