Time we switched to unicode? (was Explanation of this Python language feature?)

Chris Angelico rosuav at gmail.com
Tue Mar 25 07:26:48 CET 2014


On Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 5:04 PM, Steven D'Aprano <steve at pearwood.info> wrote:
>> I can get up a character map on any platform fairly easily, and if not,
>> I can always Google the name of the character I want and copy and paste
>> from fileformat.info or some other handy site. It's not that hard. But
>> if I want to say "copyright", it's still quicker for me to type nine
>> letters than to hunt down U+00A9 © to paste in somewhere.
>
> I hear what you are saying, but that's not *necessarily* the case. Back
> when I was a Mac user, in the 1980s and 90s, *every* application accepted
> the same keyboard shortcuts for the entire Mac character set. Nearly all
> of the chars had trivially simple mnemonics, e.g Option-p for π. Now, I
> don't happen to remember what the mnemonic for © (it has been 20 years
> since I was regularly using a Mac), but I remember it used to be really
> easy. Easier to type Option-whatever and get a © than typing "copyright".

Easy enough with a restricted character set. When you're working with,
say, 128 common characters and another 128 less common, it's not too
hard to organize keystrokes for them all.

> So, if applications could standardise on a single interface for at least
> the common Unicode characters [er, common for who? English speakers?
> Japanese people? Arabs? Dutch?] then things would be more like 1984 on a
> Mac...

And that's the problem. So what we'll have is a programming interface
that makes it easy to type a bunch of symbols used in code, and it'll
differ from pretty much everything else, and if you want to type
lambda into an email you have to jump over to your code window, key it
in, and then copy/paste... it wouldn't work without it being pretty
much universal.

ChrisA



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