RE: Hexadecimal digits

From: John Dlugosz (
Date: Wed Jun 09 2010 - 11:16:52 CDT

  • Next message: Murray Sargent: "RE: Unicode math examples"

    > Were these the same code points it would be pretty hard to read,
    > because
    > we know from handwriting that these characters do look different.
    > Usually fixed-width fonts that programmers tend to use will make these
    > glyphs distinguishable, because they have to be.
    > Even worse, some cursive/"handwriting" fonts style digits and the
    > respective confusable letters differently. You couldn't do this if they
    > were encoded as the same character without having to have contextual
    > glyphs ready and some text engine that supports it (and even then you
    > couldn't type a zero in a word, because it would be a capital O).
    > Usually the styles for characters will differ from digits because
    > digits
    > are not written as a whole string without breaks, whereas characters
    > usually are. Sure, you could still have the same glyph and make it look
    > good, but it wouldn't look natural, nor would it be practical.
    > So I don't think that we _could do without_ those characters having
    > different code points today. Even back then it must have seemed like a
    > hack to type a lowercase L instead of a 1.
    > I think this a neat example of why Unicode encodes the character's
    > abstract identity rather than it's shape. That's why we have Han
    > unification after all, because some characters have the same abstract
    > identity which was preserved, while others, such as our digits do not
    > share identities with Latin characters.
    > Robert

    That reads like an argument _for_ having separate encoding for hex digits. Then I could use those rather than markup to make hex numbers look good in the surrounding text. What argument applies to 0 that doesn't apply to A ?

    (you can stop reading now)

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