Text encoding Babel. Was Re: George Keremedjiev

Sean Conner spc at conman.org
Tue Nov 27 21:45:17 CST 2018

It was thus said that the Great Grant Taylor via cctalk once stated:
> On 11/27/2018 04:43 PM, Keelan Lightfoot via cctalk wrote:
> >
> >Unpopular opinion time: Markup languages are a kludge, relying on plain 
> >text to describe higher level concepts.
> I agree that markup languages are a kludge.  But I don't know that they 
> require plain text to describe higher level concepts.
> I see no reason that we can't have new control codes to convey new 
> concepts if they are needed.
> Aside:  ASCII did what it needed to do at the time.  Times are different 
> now.  We may need more / new / different control codes.
> By control codes, I'm meaning a specific binary sequence that means a 
> specific thing.  I think it needs to be standardized to be compatible 
> with other things -or- it needs to be considered local and proprietary 
> to an application.

  [ snip ]

> I don't think of bold or italic or underline as second class concepts. 
> I tend to think of the following attributes that can be applied to text:
>  · bold
>  · italic
>  · overline
>  · strike through
>  · underline
>  · superscript exclusive or subscript
>  · uppercase exclusive or lowercase
>  · opposing case
>  · normal (none of the above)

  But there are defined control codes for that (or most of that list
anyway).  It's not ANSI, but an ISO standard.  Let's see ... 

	^[[1m bold
	^[[3m italic
	^[[53m overline
	^[[9m strike through
	^[[4m underline
	^[[0m normal

  The superscript/subscribe could be done via another font

	^[[11m ... ^[[19m

  Maybe even the opposing case case ... um ... yeah.

  By the way, ^[ is a single character representing the ASCII ESC character

> I see no reason that the keyboard can't have keys / glyphs added to it.
> I'm personally contemplating adding additional keys (via an add on 
> keyboard) that are programmed to produce additional symbols.  I 
> frequently use the following symbols and wish I had keys for easier 
> access to them:  ≈, ·, ¢, ©, °, …, —, ≥, ∞, ‽, ≤, µ, 
> ≠, Ω, ½, ¼, ⅓, ¶, ±, ®, §, ¾, ™, ⅔, ¿, ⊕.

  Years ago I came across an IBM Model M keyboard that had the APL character
set on the keyboard, along with the normal characters one finds.  I would
have bought it on the spot if it weren't for a friend of mine who saw it 10
seconds before I did.

  I did recently get another IBM Model M keyboard (an SSK model) that had
additional labels on the keys:


The nice thing about the IBM Model M is the keycaps are easy to replace.

> I will concede that many computers and / or programming languages do 
> behave based on text.  But I am fairly confident that there are some 
> programming languages (I don't know about computers) that work 
> differently.  Specifically, simple objects are included as part of the 
> language and then more complex objects are built using the simpler 
> objects.  Dia and (what I understand of) Minecraft come to mind.

  You might be thinking of Smalltalk.


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