Why incomplete subscript/superscript alphabet ?
Jukka K. Korpela
jkorpela at cs.tut.fi
Fri Sep 30 11:31:58 CDT 2016
30.9.2016, 19:11, Leonardo Boiko wrote:
> The Unicode codepoints are not intended as a place to store
> typographically variant glyphs (much like the Unicode "italic"
> characters aren't designed as a way of encoding italic faces).
There is no disagreement on this. What I was pointing at was that when
using rich text or markup, it is complicated or impossible to have
typographically correct glyphs used (even when they exist), whereas the
use of Unicode codepoints for subscript or superscript characters may do
that in a much simpler way.
> correct thing here is that the markup and the font-rendering systems
> *should* automatically work together to choose the proper face—as they
> already do with italics or optical sizes, and as they should do with
> true small-caps etc.
While waiting for this, we may need for interim solutions (for a few
decades, for example). By the way, font-rendering systems don’t even do
italics the right way in all cases. They may silently use “fake italics”
(algorithmically slanted letters). (I’m not suggesting the use of
Unicode codepoints to deal with this.)
> I agree that our current systems are typographically atrocious and an
> abomination before the God of good taste, and I don't blame anyone for
> resorting to Unicode tricks to work around that.
I don’t think it’s a trick to use characters like SUPERSCRIPT TWO and
SUPERSCRIPT THREE. The practical problem is that at the point where you
need other superscripts that cannot be (reliably) produced using similar
codepoints, you will need to consider replacing SUPERSCRIPT TWO and
SUPERSCRIPT THREE by DIGIT TWO and DIGIT THREE with suitable markup or
formatting, to avoid stylistic mismatch. This isn’t as serious as it
sounds. When that day comes, you can probably do a suitable global
replace operation on your texts.
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