Custom characters (was: Re: Private Use Area in Use)

Ken Whistler kenwhistler at
Wed Jun 3 19:57:45 CDT 2015

On 6/3/2015 5:17 PM, John wrote:
> so what?
> There should be a standard way to put custom characters anywhere that 
> characters belong and have things “just work”.

Well, that's the rub, isn't it?

We (in IT) are still working pretty dang hard on the simpler problem, to 

There should be a way to put *standard characters* anywhere that 
characters belong
and have things "just work".

And even *that* is a hard problem that has taken over 25 years -- and is 
still a work in

What you are asking for is not much removed from:

There should be a *standard *way to put "*stuff-I-just-made-up*" 
anywhere that characters
belong and have things "just work".

See, the first barrier to getting anywhere with this goal is to get 
everybody concerned
with text in IT (or perhaps even worse, all the hundreds of millions of 
people who
*use* characters in their devices) to agree what a "custom character" 
is. And if
the rollicking "discussions" underway about emoji have taught us much of 
it includes the fact that people do *not* all agree about what 
characters are or
what should be a candidate for "just working" -- or even what "just 
work" might
mean for them, in any case.

So before declaring that your position is self-evidently correct about 
how things
should just work, it might be a good idea to put some real thought into how
one would define and standardize the concept of a "custom character" 
precisely that there would be a snowball's chance in hell that all the 
of text out there would a) know what it was, b) know how it should 
display and
render, c) know how it should be input, stored, and transmitted and d) 
know how it
should be interpreted universally.


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