Why incomplete subscript/superscript alphabet ?

Michael Everson everson at evertype.com
Mon Oct 10 16:06:29 CDT 2016

On 10 Oct 2016, at 21:58, Julian Bradfield <jcb+unicode at inf.ed.ac.uk> wrote:
> On 2016-10-10, Michael Everson <everson at evertype.com> wrote:
>> I can’t use LaTeX notation. I don’t use that proprietary system. And don’t you dare tell me that I am benighted, or using Word. Neither applies.
> That's an interesting use of "proprietary" you have there, but I
> suppose with your Alician interests, Humpty Dumpty's attitude to words
> may have rubbed off on you! What *do* you mean?

You have to have special knowledge and special software to use it. Apparently it’s used to good effect in mathematics, though a great deal of TeX material appears printed and has an obvious “TeX” feel which to me looks rather ugly. In any case, TeX guys love TeX. And then there’s the rest of us. 

>> I have an edition of the Bible I’m setting. Big book. Verse numbers. I like these to be superscript so they’re unobtrusive. Damn right I use the superscript characters for these. I can process the text, export it for concordance processing, whatever, and those out-of-text notations DON’T get converted to regular digits, which I need.
> If you were doing it properly, the text would be stored in a suitable
> markup, as would the verse numbers, and both the typesetting and the
> concordance processing would deal with them appropriately.

“Properly”, sayeth the computer programmer. Sorry, Julian, but I use professional tools to typeset, and your disdain for that process isn’t going to change that industry. This “suitable markup” business you’re talking about is not something people outside of ivory towers actually use. 

> No need for Unicode hacks.

Unicode has superscript digits, preserved in plain text. 
Do I need to do calculations with these? No. Do I need them to be identical to ASCII digits? No. I need them to be persistent, searchable if necessary (yes the search is inconvenient vis à vis the keyboard), and preserved in plain text. Because if they’re not preserved in plain text, then I may have to convert them again, which is tedious and inconvenient. Characters is save than markup, in an instance like this. 

That’s not using Unicode for a hack. That’s using Unicode to preserve distinctions in plain text. 


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