Re: A question about "user areas"

Date: Wed Jun 02 2010 - 05:17:58 CDT

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    > I am brewing on some plans for making a font with glyphs for ancient
    > Chinese characters and even for some of the more "dubious" glyphs; I
    > assume that there is no standard area in the Unicode standard for
    > these; so where can I put them so they are least likely to clash with
    > others?

    It is very unwise to assume the characters do not have an allocation. The Supplementary Ideographic Plane (Plane 2) has around 47,000 currently encoded characters, almost all of which are either name characters, or archaic characters. You can look them up in the Radical/Stroke index at .

    If you are looking for Oracle Bone, Bronze, or Small Seal script characters, then you will need to wait until they are encoded in the Tertiary Ideographic plane, or make use of the Private Use areas at E000-F780, and F0000-1FFFFD (Planes 15 and 16). There may be some argument to mapping Oracle Bone, Bronze, and Seal script characters to their modern counterparts, and considering them merely a font choice. I don't know enough about the early forms of Chinese to say one way or the other.

    Note that the Private Use Areas are the ONLY acceptable place to encode user defined characters - those that are not currently in the standard. It would be highly inappropriate and extremely unwise to decide to map your characters to the Oracle Bone range (U+30000-U+317FF), based on the roadmaps, or to any other range outside the Private Use Areas. Look up the Conscript Unicode Registry if you want to examine a pseudo-standardized Private Use agreement. A simple mapping table will enable you to equate your private use "standard" to the officially encoded forms of these scripts, when that time comes, if you wish to publicize - in the sense of both "enable public use" and "get the message out" - your mappings. The CSUR already has three scripts: Phaistos Disk, Deseret, and Shavian, that have migrated to the Standard, and we're waiting on Tengwar and Cirth to make the move as well; it actually seems to work quite well.

    -Van Anderson

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