Tag characters and in-line graphics (from Tag characters)

"Martin J. Dürst" duerst at it.aoyama.ac.jp
Fri Jun 5 04:49:14 CDT 2015

On 2015/06/04 17:03, Chris wrote:

> I wish Steve Jobs was here to give this lecture.

Well, if Steve Jobs were still around, he could think about whether (and 
how many) users really want their private characters, and whether it was 
worth the time to have his engineers working on the solution. I'm not 
sure he would come to the same conclusion as you.

> This whole discussion is about the fact that it would be technically possible to have private character sets and private agreements that your OS downloads without the user being aware of it.
> Now if the unicode consortium were to decide on standardising a technological process whereby rendering engines could seamlessly download representations of custom characters without user intervention, no doubt all the vendors would support it, and all the technical mumbo jumbo of installing privately agreed character sets would be something users could leave for the technology to sort out.

You are right that it would be strictly technically possible. Not only 
that, it has been so for 10 or 20 years.

As an example, in 1996 at the WWW Conference in Paris I was 
participating in a workshop on internationalization for the Web, and by 
chance I was sitting between the participant from Adobe and the 
participant from Microsoft. These were the main companies working on 
font technology at that time, and I asked them how small it would be 
possible to make a font for a single character using their technologies 
(the purpose of such a font, as people on this thread should be able to 
guess, would be as part of a solution to exchange single, "user-defined" 

I don't even remember their answers. The important thing here that the 
idea, and the technology, have been around for a long time. So why 
didn't it take on? Maybe the demand is just not as big as some 
contributors on this list claim.

Also, maybe while the technology itself isn't rocket science, the 
responsible people at the relevant companies have enough experience with 
technology deployment to hold back. To give an example of why the 
deployment aspect is important, there were various Web-like hypertext 
technologies around when the Web took off in the 1990. One of them was 
called HyperG. It was technologically 'better' than the Web, in that it 
avoided broken links. But it was much more difficult to deploy, and so 
it is forgotten, whereas the Web took off.

Regards,   Martin.

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