Standaridized variation sequences for the Desert alphabet?
alastair at alastairs-place.net
Mon Mar 27 09:04:17 CDT 2017
On 27 Mar 2017, at 10:14, Julian Bradfield <jcb+unicode at inf.ed.ac.uk> wrote:
> I contend, therefore, that no decision about Unicode should take into
> account any ephemeral considerations such as this year's electronic
> font technology, and that therefore it's not even useful to mention
I’d disagree with that, for two reasons:
1. Unicode has to be usable *today*; it’s no good designing for some kind of hyper-intelligent AI-based font technology a thousand years hence, because we don’t have that now. If it isn’t usable today for any given purpose, people won’t use it for that, and will adopt alternative solutions (like using images to represent text).
2. “This year’s electronic font technology” is actually quite powerful, and is unlikely to be supplanted by something *less* powerful in future. There is an argument about exactly how widespread support for it is (for instance, simple text editors are clearly lacking in support for stylistic alternates, except possibly on the Mac where there’s built-in support in the standard text edit control), but again I think it’s reasonable to expect support to grow over time, rather than being removed.
I don’t think it’s unreasonable, then, to point out that mechanisms like stylistic or contextual alternates exist, or indeed for that knowledge to affect a decision about whether or not a character should be encoded, *bearing in mind* the likely direction of travel of font and text rendering support in widely available operating systems.
All that said, I’d definitely defer to others on the subject of whether or not Unicode needs the Deseret characters being discussed here. That’s very much not my field.
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