Re: [Markus Kuhn cl cam ac uk: A suggestion for gucharmap, KCharMap and umap]

Haven't tried out the application yet but this discussion coincides with
some of my own research and it looks good enough that I shouldn't pass
up this opportunity to say something.

I've been exploring the OpenType font file format lately for an
application I'm designing. One of the things I've just been looking into
is the extended tables available in OpenType. One extended option is
alternate glyphs. I don't have a concrete suggestion for how this could
(should?) be incorporated into gucharmap but it may be worth keeping in
mind as a future option.

While alternate glyphs wouldn't serve much purpose for gucharmap as an
application (except for the DTP app I have in mind) it would be useful
if gucharmap was an application-accessible dialog. Have you considered
making an API for it? It seems like this would be a useful dialog in the
same vein as the standard GTK+ colour selector, file selector, and font
selector. You also mention on your website that the gucharmap can run on
Windows. That would make it as portable as GTK+ if I'm not mistaken.

A few thoughts off the cuff on what might be useful if it were a dialog:
 - might only show characters from the font(s) indicated by the
application (and therefore narrow language list accordingly)
 - might want to display it a little smaller
 - might not show font, style, size boxes at all
 - would need an OK button to close the dialog
 - copy button would be redundant as it is implied that the characters
in the textbox would be inserted into the app
 - menu bar hidden or changed
 - would want to preserve the currently open script/language group and
be positioned to the appropriate symbol page if the user opens the
dialog repeatedly
 - callback on glyph hover or press (app. can look up alternates in
opentype capable fonts and display them?)

One last push for a dialog: having to find the character map in a menu,
find your character, copy it and then paste it into a app makes it a
real pain to use (especially if you close the window between repeated
uses). Integrating into applications, preferably with a common shortcut,
would make multilingual/symbol input much easier and more consistent
(cf. AbiWord insert symbol box, missing one in Gnumeric).


On Wed, 2003-01-15 at 19:58, Noah Levitt wrote:
> Hello,
> I agree with Markus that gucharmap should have the unicode
> annotation and cross reference information. 
> Does anyone have ideas on how to present the information in
> a way that is usable and not overwhelming?
> Noah
> ----- Forwarded message from Markus Kuhn <Markus Kuhn cl cam ac uk> -----
> To: Noah Levitt <nlevitt columbia edu>
> cc: ceckak alumni washington edu, pfaedit users sourceforge net
> Subject: A suggestion for gucharmap, KCharMap and umap
> Date: Wed, 15 Jan 2003 17:17:25 +0000
> From: Markus Kuhn <Markus Kuhn cl cam ac uk>
> Noah Levitt wrote on 2003-01-15 15:08 UTC: 
> > Juliusz said I should drop you a note to tell you that ucm 
> > is obsoleted by gucharmap (
> Thanks! I'll update the FAQ on
> accordingly.
> Your Unicode character browsing/selection tool looks indeed very good,
> though I had so far just a brief look at the screen shots and haven't
> actually installed it yet.
> In case you maintain a wish list for your program, here is one that I
> think is very important (and should also be worth considering for your
> competitors KCharMap and ):
> It would be great, if your program would display for each character not
> only the Unicode name and block name, but all the annotation and cross
> references found in
> These contain a lot of valueable information, such as
> 	= APL quote
> 	* neutral (vertical) glyph having mixed usage
> 	* preferred character for apostrophe is 2019
> 	* preferred characters in English for paired quotation marks are 2018 & 2019
> 	x (modifier letter prime - 02B9)
> 	x (modifier letter apostrophe - 02BC)
> 	x (modifier letter vertical line - 02C8)
> 	x (combining acute accent - 0301)
> 	x (prime - 2032)
> which -- if displayed by all character selection tools -- would increase
> *significantly* the chance of people actually picking the semantically
> correct characters, and not just one that happens to look in the
> currently selected font like what they had in mind. Some of the Unicode
> names are for historic reasons a bit missleading (e.g., APOSTROPHE is
> not the character that you should use to represent the apostrophe in
> English in Unicode!) and need to be read together with annotations such
> as the above to get the full picture. There are lots of pitfalls when
> selecting characters without the annotations from NamesList.txt.
> Some suggestions for the GUI of the proposed feature: When you format
> such annotations in an annotation subwindow, the glyphs of the
> alternative characters listed should also be shown next to their hex
> code, and clicking on them should move you to that character. (And such
> hypertext-like behaviour then of course also calls for backwards and
> forwards buttons like in a web browser.)
> Would be really neat if you could fit that in somehow!
> Markus
> -- 
> Markus Kuhn, Computer Lab, Univ of Cambridge, GB
> | __oo_O..O_oo__
> ----- End forwarded message -----
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