Encoding of old compatibility characters

Ian Clifton ian.clifton at chem.ox.ac.uk
Tue Mar 28 06:00:25 CDT 2017

Philippe Verdy <verdy_p at wanadoo.fr> writes:

> Ideally a smart text renderer could as well display that glyph with a
> leading multiplication sign (a mathematical middle dot) and implicitly
> convert the following digits (and sign) as real superscript/exponent
> (using contextual substitution/positioning like for Eastern
> Arabic/Urdu), without necessarily writing the 10 base with smaller
> digits.

Actually, I would see this as putting unnecessary clutter back in! I
would say the advantage of the ⏨ notation, introduced with Algol 60, is
that it subsumes and makes implicit the multiplication and
exponentiation operators, resulting in a visually compact denotation of
a real number in “scientific notation”, and it does so with a single
symbol that hints at its own meaning.

I’ve used ⏨ a couple of times, without explanation, in my own
emails—without, as far as I’m aware, causing any misunderstanding.

> Without it, people will want to use 20⏨ to mean it is the decimal
> number twenty and not hexadecimal number thirty two.

Yes, this ambiguity is a drawback. Hopefully, the use cases should be
sufficiently different that real confusion would be unlikely (and of
course, normally, U+23E8 should never be used to denote decimal number

Ian Clifton ⚗                 ℡: +44 1865 275677
Chemistry Research Laboratory ℻: +44 1865 285002
Oxford University             ��: ian.clifton at chem.ox.ac.uk
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