A last missing link for interoperable representation

Martin J. Dürst via Unicode unicode at unicode.org
Tue Jan 15 00:46:31 CST 2019

On 2019/01/15 07:58, David Starner via Unicode wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 14, 2019 at 2:09 AM Tex via Unicode <unicode at unicode.org> wrote:

>> ·        Plain text still has tremendous utility and rich text is not always an option.
> Where? Twitter has the option of doing rich text, as does any closed
> system. In fact, Twitter is rich text, in that it hyperlinks web
> addresses. That Twitter has chosen not to support italics is a choice.
> If users don't like this, they could go another system, or use
> third-party tools to transmit rich text over Twitter. The use of
> underscores or <i> </i> markings for italics would be mostly
> compatible with human twitterers using the normal interface.

Yes indeed. Some similar services allow styling. One example is Slack, 
see e.g. 

Markdown has been mentioned as an example of how some basic styling 
options (bold, italic,...) can be implemented. Another choice is using 
an user interface component (menu,...). The user then doesn't have to 
care about any 'weird' conventions, even the simplest ones, nor about 
what happens in the background (most probably HTML), and already is 
familiar with it from other applications.

As for implementation complexity, it's not trivial, but there are quite 
a lot of components available, in particular for Web technology. It's 
not rocket science.

Actually, in some cases, it is even difficult to get rid of styling on 
the Web. I recently wanted to print out a map of how to get to a 
restaurant for a party. The restaurant's Web site was all black 
background. I copied the address to Google Maps and then tried to print 
it. Google Maps insists that the first page is just information about 
the location, so I copied the name of the restaurant from the Web page. 
What happened was that it still had the black background. So copy-paste 
on your average Web browser these days doesn't lose styles, even in 
cases where that would be desirable (because more legible).

So rich text technology is already way ahead when it comes to styled 
text. Do we want to encode background-color variant selectors in 
Unicode? If yes, how many?

[Hint: The last two questions are rhetorical.]

Regards,   Martin.

More information about the Unicode mailing list