Re: Proposal to encode an EXTERNAL LINK symbol in the BMP

From: James Kass (
Date: Mon Jul 24 2006 - 07:58:50 CDT

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    Jukka K. Korpela wrote,

    > Besides, Unicode is about plain text, and links are a hypertext matter.
    > Is there some need to use an EXTERNAL LINK symbol in _plain text_?
    > Whenever you have links, you are working with hypertext, not plain text.
    > The mere possibility of printing a hypertext document or saving it as
    > flattened to plain text does not sound like a sufficient reason for
    > encoding EXTERNAL LINK as a character. If an image is used as an external
    > link marker, it can be printed too, and in formats like HTML, it can carry
    > an "alt" attribute that specifies the textual replacement.

    Even a tutorial about web page authoring would need to use mark-up
    and graphics to illustrate the wide variety of icons which are
    apparently used for this symbol.

    Some interesting posts on external link symbols at,

    Andy Dingley's response to a question about the external link symbol
    used on wikipedia pages suggests that this symbol is not standardized
    and may be considered an icon. It appears that HTML code already
    handles the display of external link symbols adequately.

    This web site:
    uses a green rightwards pointing arrow as an external link symbol.
    It could be represented by U+27A1 (BLACK RIGHTWARDS ARROW)
    in plain text, except that it's green.

    This web site:
    uses a different symbol/icon for external links. (Section called
    "Links to external websites" [sic])

    It's interesting that they also have a "Back to top" graphic/icon/
    symbol associated with links which go all the way back to the top
    of the page.

    Anyway, a Google search on "external link symbol" finds lots of
    hits, so using such a device is not uncommon.

    Best regards,

    James Kass

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