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Re: Inputting the newer unicode characters

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  • Tony Mechelynck
    ... I don t know what Ken does, but I use gvim to input any unicode codepoints, and any browser (Firefox, SeaMonkey, or, depending on platform, Konqueror, IE,
    Message 1 of 13 , Aug 31, 2007
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      Eze wrote:
      > Thanks a lot to you both for your insights. Ken, if I may ask, what
      > exactly do you use to see/work with/input unicode characters? All
      > information will be appreciated, such as linux distribution, desktop
      > manager, text editor, etcetera.
      >
      > Best regards,
      >
      > Eze

      I don't know what Ken does, but I use gvim to input any unicode codepoints,
      and any browser (Firefox, SeaMonkey, or, depending on platform, Konqueror, IE,
      Safari, etc.) to visualise those outside the BMP.


      Best regards,
      Tony.
      --
      Boob's Law:
      You always find something in the last place you look.

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    • Kenneth Beesley
      Hi Eze, For my Unicode editing needs, I try to survey the field once or twice a year. It s been a while since I last looked, so my information is probably out
      Message 2 of 13 , Sep 4, 2007
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        Hi Eze,

        For my Unicode editing needs, I try to survey the field once or twice
        a year.
        It's been a while since I last looked, so my information is probably
        out of date.
        I can't keep up with all the Unicode-editing options.

        My Unicode-editing needs are somewhat unusual. I occasionally need to
        type Arabic script, and I definitely need Unicode combining
        diacritics and
        supplementary characters. I insist on being able to write my own
        input methods,
        and I'd like a solution that works in OS X, Linux and perhaps even
        Windows.
        I haven't found a perfect solution yet for my needs.

        On the Mac, which I use most often, TextEdit (supplied with OS X) does a
        much better than average job of _rendering_ the Unicode characters
        that you
        type. It has a built-in set of default fonts that so far have
        rendered almost
        anything that I've wanted to type, including Shavian and Deseret.
        Combining
        diacritics are (to the extent that I've tested them) handled
        acceptably, even
        rather well--this is a weak point in many other allegedly Unicode-
        savvy editors.
        However, if you are used to a full-featured text editor like vim
        or emacs, then TextEdit hardly seems like a text editor at all. Too
        limited in
        commands and overall functionality. I'm glad that TextEdit is
        available,
        but I use it reluctantly.

        TextEdit can use Apple Input Methods, many of which are supplied, and
        you can (with some difficulty) define your own so that you can type in
        Arabic, Cyrillic, Greek, Shavian, Deseret or whatever using your own
        favorite
        keyboard mapping or input method. I'm a firm believer that you ought to
        be able to define your own personal input methods (or keyboard-layout
        emulations)
        so that you can do it Your Way, even if dozens of input methods
        are already available. There are (or were) some bugs in the
        interpretation of Apple
        Input Methods, and fixing them seems to be very low priority at
        Apple. I need
        to recheck the status.

        I need to take another look at the commercial text editors available
        for OS X.

        I also work a lot with Unicode in XML, and I have purchased a license
        for the oXygen
        XML editor. oXygen is Java-based and so can use Java Input Methods,
        which
        are much better documented and easier to define than Apple Input
        Methods.
        oXygen can also be used to edit plain-text Unicode files. It renders
        Unicode
        to the extent that Java Swing text widgets render Unicode, which is
        pretty
        well. Installing new Unicode TrueType/OpenType fonts inside your Java
        installation, to allow the rendering of exotic characters, can be a
        challenge
        for the casual user.

        In addition to the commercial oXygen, there are a few other Java-based
        text editors that you might explore. I need to look at them again.
        Typically
        such editors are based on Java Swing text widgets, can use TrueType or
        OpenType fonts, and Java Input Methods. You can define your own Java
        Input Methods, but it'll be hard if you're not a hacker. The freely
        available kmap_ime.jar
        and kmap_ime_gui.jar are Java-Input-Method wrappers that allow you to
        use input methods expressed as Yudit-style .kmap files as if they were
        Java Input Methods. (Yudit .kmap files are very similar in format
        and semantics
        to the vim keymap files.)

        The Yudit editor is notable for its flexible handling of fonts,
        rendering Unicode, and
        allowing you to define your own input methods easily, but like
        TextEdit it hardly seems
        like a text editor at all to someone used to emacs or vim.

        Traditionally I've used emacs, but emacs does not use Unicode
        internally,
        instead providing what I find to be an awkward and very incomplete
        way of
        mapping between its internal MULE-encoded internal representation and
        Unicode files on input/output. In practice, the set of input methods
        available for emacs is MULE-based and closed. emacs has seriously
        dragged its
        feet on Unicode implementation.

        When it comes to Unicode implementation, vim is (in my opinion) much
        more
        promising than emacs. Vim seems to do an excellent internal job of
        reading, editing,
        and writing Unicode. Vim keymaps, for typing in Unicode chars, are
        _very_
        easy to define or modify, and they fit my needs perfectly. The
        remaining problems
        (from my point of view) with vim are these

        1. Failure to render Unicode characters from the supplementary area
        (I can't
        edit a screen full of question marks)
        2. The limitation to fixed-width fonts (A profound nuisance/
        limitation. Vim
        on Linux can use variable-width fonts, but it still works much better
        with fixed-
        width fonts.)

        On Linux, consider Java-based solutions such as oXygen. In Gnome
        there's
        gedit, but (the last time I looked) the definition and addition of
        new input
        methods for gedit was poorly documented and required some background
        hacking. I managed it once, but it's not acceptably easy or acceptably
        documented, in my opinion.

        I'm not acquainted with KDE (the alternative to Gnome in Linux). Is
        anyone
        out there acquainted with the kedit editor?

        I'm not acquainted with Microsoft/PC solutions.

        I need to look at OpenOffice solutions.

        Corrections/Comments/Suggestions would be Very Welcome

        I don't have an axe to grind--I just need to edit Unicode (including
        Arabic,
        Cyrillic, Supplementary Characters, Combining Diacritics) and I
        insist on
        being able to write my own input methods. I'd like a solution (with
        input
        methods) that works across multiple operating systems. I'd like to use
        TrueType/OpenType fonts, without a fixed-width limitation, and be
        able to
        use virtual fonts that combine glyphs from a set of user-designated real
        fonts. And I want a full-featured user-interface like that in vim or
        emacs.

        I would welcome pointers to other Unicode-editing solutions that I
        may have overlooked.

        Ken




        On 31 Aug 2007, at 15:48, Eze wrote:

        >
        > Thanks a lot to you both for your insights. Ken, if I may ask, what
        > exactly do you use to see/work with/input unicode characters? All
        > information will be appreciated, such as linux distribution, desktop
        > manager, text editor, etcetera.
        >
        > Best regards,
        >
        > Eze
        >
        >
        > >


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      • Kenneth Beesley
        Tony, If I were just typing in a Supplementary character here and there, or even an isolated word, I would use a similar solution. However, I m editing
        Message 3 of 13 , Sep 4, 2007
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          Tony,

          If I were just typing in a Supplementary character here and there,
          or even an isolated word, I would use a similar solution.

          However, I'm editing (proofreading) chapter-length texts consisting of
          supplementary characters, and when I open such a text in vim and
          see nothing but a screenful of question marks, you can imagine
          my disappointment.

          Best wishes,

          Ken



          On 31 Aug 2007, at 23:19, Tony Mechelynck wrote:

          >
          > Eze wrote:
          >> Thanks a lot to you both for your insights. Ken, if I may ask, what
          >> exactly do you use to see/work with/input unicode characters? All
          >> information will be appreciated, such as linux distribution, desktop
          >> manager, text editor, etcetera.
          >>
          >> Best regards,
          >>
          >> Eze
          >
          > I don't know what Ken does, but I use gvim to input any unicode
          > codepoints,
          > and any browser (Firefox, SeaMonkey, or, depending on platform,
          > Konqueror, IE,
          > Safari, etc.) to visualise those outside the BMP.
          >
          >
          > Best regards,
          > Tony.
          > --
          > Boob's Law:
          > You always find something in the last place you look.
          >
          > >


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        • Nico Weber
          Hi, ... This should be fixed with the current svn version, at least for gvim (if you have the necessary fonts). Nico
          Message 4 of 13 , Sep 23, 2007
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            Hi,

            > I'd like to switch over to vim, but I work a lot with exotic Unicode
            > characters
            > in the supplementary area. When I last looked into vim, and
            > experimented
            > with keymaps, I found that I could easily enter any Unicode char, and
            > save
            > the results to file---and the Unicode chars in the file were
            > correct. But as
            > long as I couldn't _see_ my character glyphs rendered on the screen,
            > vim wasn't
            > acceptable as an editor. All I could see were boxes (or question
            > marks--I can't
            > remember which).

            This should be fixed with the current svn version, at least for gvim
            (if you have the necessary fonts).

            Nico

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          • Kenneth Beesley
            Nico, This is great news. Many thanks for the message. Ken ... --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ You received this message from the
            Message 5 of 13 , Sep 23, 2007
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              Nico,

              This is great news. Many thanks for the message.

              Ken


              On 23 Sep 2007, at 09:46, Nico Weber wrote:

              >
              > Hi,
              >
              >> I'd like to switch over to vim, but I work a lot with exotic Unicode
              >> characters
              >> in the supplementary area. When I last looked into vim, and
              >> experimented
              >> with keymaps, I found that I could easily enter any Unicode char, and
              >> save
              >> the results to file---and the Unicode chars in the file were
              >> correct. But as
              >> long as I couldn't _see_ my character glyphs rendered on the screen,
              >> vim wasn't
              >> acceptable as an editor. All I could see were boxes (or question
              >> marks--I can't
              >> remember which).
              >
              > This should be fixed with the current svn version, at least for gvim
              > (if you have the necessary fonts).
              >
              > Nico
              >
              > >


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            • Tony Mechelynck
              ... Yes: even for people who don t use SVN (but CVS, A-A-P, ftp, whatever), it is patch 7.1.116, and works for me. Best regards, Tony. -- Water? Never touch
              Message 6 of 13 , Sep 23, 2007
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                Nico Weber wrote:
                > Hi,
                >
                >> I'd like to switch over to vim, but I work a lot with exotic Unicode
                >> characters
                >> in the supplementary area. When I last looked into vim, and
                >> experimented
                >> with keymaps, I found that I could easily enter any Unicode char, and
                >> save
                >> the results to file---and the Unicode chars in the file were
                >> correct. But as
                >> long as I couldn't _see_ my character glyphs rendered on the screen,
                >> vim wasn't
                >> acceptable as an editor. All I could see were boxes (or question
                >> marks--I can't
                >> remember which).
                >
                > This should be fixed with the current svn version, at least for gvim
                > (if you have the necessary fonts).
                >
                > Nico

                Yes: even for people who don't use SVN (but CVS, A-A-P, ftp, whatever), it is
                patch 7.1.116, and works for me.


                Best regards,
                Tony.
                --
                "Water? Never touch the stuff! Fish fuck in it."
                -- W. C. Fields

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