Unicode in the Curriculum?

Marcel Schneider charupdate at orange.fr
Thu Jan 14 07:38:52 CST 2016

On January 7, 2016, at 00:39, Shawn Steele wrote:

>> Ø I think any training in non-Unicode character sets is beyond a standard curriculum, except perhaps History of Computing or Digital Archaeology :)

> One could only hope.

Since the topic widened to font design, one easily agrees that also in these curricula, Unicode is taught, and code pages are replaced with Unicode collections. Even the Multilingual European Subsets were originally declared to be an intermediate stage on the road towards the implementation of the whole UCS. I fully agree that code pages are to be relegated into the archives. *If* there is an exception for CJK fonts, it merely confirms the rule. Last fall weʼve seen the side effects of remnant code page use in the recognition of native languages in Northwest Territories. I apologize to all persons I’ve hurt.

E.g. one may teach that Latin script is covered by the Unicode collections Basic Latin ∪ Latin-1 Supplement ∪ Latin Extended-A ∪ Latin Extended-B ∪ IPA Extensions ∪ Spacing Modifier Letters ∪ Combining Diacritical Marks ∪ Combining Diacritical Marks Extended ∪ Phonetic Extensions ∪ Phonetic Extensions Supplement ∪ Combining Diacritical Marks Supplement ∪ Latin Extended Additional ∪ General Punctuation ∪ Superscripts and Subscripts ∪ [most of] Currency Symbols ∪ Letterlike Symbols ∪ Number Forms ∪ Enclosed Alphanumerics ∪ Latin Extended-C ∪ Supplemental Punctuation ∪ Modifier Tone Letters ∪ Latin Extended-D ∪ Latin Extended-E ∪ Combining Half Marks ∪ Mathematical Alphanumeric Symbols ∪ Enclosed Alphanumeric Supplement, AFAIK.

The more we add to the cart, the more the specified font will be useful―but the more it will be costly. Therefore cheaper fonts may restrict themselves to less collections or subsets of them, at risk of not covering e.g. U+2010 HYPHEN and U+02BC LETTER APOSTROPHE. I apologize again to all persons I’ve hurt in that other thread. In fact I felt that something is wrong, but above all I was wrong myself. Looking for defaults on Unicodeʼs side was a big mistake. You are heroes.

BTW, for keyboard input, there is strictly no problem on Windows. Typing the ≈ 1,600 Latin characters + punctuation is straightforward since we know how keyboard layout drivers work. There is mainly *one* long dead trans list, and almost every keyboard can have Kana on Right Alt, and Compose on Kana + Space. ISO/IEC 9995 should soon be revised to become ultimately fit for real mainstream computers. Microsoft didnʼt wait for ISO/IEC 9995-2 to provide performative APIs, nor did Tavultesoft wait for ISO/IEC 9995-11 to provide performative UIs.

Would it be possible to teach them too how a Unicode keyboard is made, and how KbdUTool works? And Keyman Developer? Perhaps in a lecture on C, or in a workshop on compilers, or in a lecture on UI design?

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