Unicode characters in Chrome

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Unicode characters in Chrome

Steve Bennett-8
I'm using Chrome 3.0.195.21, and have long found that some characters
in Wikipedia render as boxes. One example:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P_with_stroke renders as "<box>
(minuscule: <box>)..."

Now, I looked at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Special_characters
and the advice is not very useful or specific: it says that "Special
symbols should display properly without further configuration with ...
Safari and most other recent browsers." I tried installing Gnu Unifont
and setting it as the default browser font, but that seems to be
overridden by MediaWiki anyway?

So anyway, I'm asking two questions:
1) What can I do to get more special characters to render correctly in Chrome?
2) Could/would anyone improve [[Help:Special characters]] to make it
clearer, more specific and correct?

Thanks,
Steve

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Re: Unicode characters in Chrome

Aryeh Gregor
On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 6:58 PM, Steve Bennett <[hidden email]> wrote:
> I'm using Chrome 3.0.195.21, and have long found that some characters
> in Wikipedia render as boxes. One example:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P_with_stroke renders as "<box>
> (minuscule: <box>)..."

As the article says, the characters were only added to Unicode in 2005
and 2006.  It's to be expected that even good Unicode fonts might not
yet support them.  The article even notes that few fonts support the
characters.

> Now, I looked at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Special_characters
> and the advice is not very useful or specific: it says that "Special
> symbols should display properly without further configuration with ...
> Safari and most other recent browsers." I tried installing Gnu Unifont
> and setting it as the default browser font, but that seems to be
> overridden by MediaWiki anyway?

No, GNU Unifont probably just doesn't have those characters.  The
default fonts on Ubuntu seem to have the majuscule but not the
minuscule (or at least that's how Chrome and Firefox both render the
page).

> So anyway, I'm asking two questions:
> 1) What can I do to get more special characters to render correctly in Chrome?

Get better fonts.  Realistically, you should do this by waiting a few
years until your preinstalled fonts hopefully support the character.

> 2) Could/would anyone improve [[Help:Special characters]] to make it
> clearer, more specific and correct?

It needs to note that there's no font out there that really supports
*all* of Unicode, especially since Unicode keeps changing.  Wikipedia
editors need to decide on a case-by-case basis whether a Unicode
character is supported widely enough to justify using it in an
article's text, or whether an image should be used instead.

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Re: Unicode characters in Chrome

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
The notion that our editors should decide if a font is well enough
supported  is a bit off. It is saying "you cannot properly write your
language because ...".

I do appreciate that TECHNICALLY you are right. However what is needed is
people adding the "new" glyphs to the font. This is no rocket science.. we
can do this.
Thanks,
       GerardM

2009/9/25 Aryeh Gregor
<[hidden email]<Simetrical%[hidden email]>
>

> On Thu, Sep 24, 2009 at 6:58 PM, Steve Bennett <[hidden email]>
> wrote:
> > I'm using Chrome 3.0.195.21, and have long found that some characters
> > in Wikipedia render as boxes. One example:
> > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P_with_stroke renders as "<box>
> > (minuscule: <box>)..."
>
> As the article says, the characters were only added to Unicode in 2005
> and 2006.  It's to be expected that even good Unicode fonts might not
> yet support them.  The article even notes that few fonts support the
> characters.
>
> > Now, I looked at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Special_characters
> > and the advice is not very useful or specific: it says that "Special
> > symbols should display properly without further configuration with ...
> > Safari and most other recent browsers." I tried installing Gnu Unifont
> > and setting it as the default browser font, but that seems to be
> > overridden by MediaWiki anyway?
>
> No, GNU Unifont probably just doesn't have those characters.  The
> default fonts on Ubuntu seem to have the majuscule but not the
> minuscule (or at least that's how Chrome and Firefox both render the
> page).
>
> > So anyway, I'm asking two questions:
> > 1) What can I do to get more special characters to render correctly in
> Chrome?
>
> Get better fonts.  Realistically, you should do this by waiting a few
> years until your preinstalled fonts hopefully support the character.
>
> > 2) Could/would anyone improve [[Help:Special characters]] to make it
> > clearer, more specific and correct?
>
> It needs to note that there's no font out there that really supports
> *all* of Unicode, especially since Unicode keeps changing.  Wikipedia
> editors need to decide on a case-by-case basis whether a Unicode
> character is supported widely enough to justify using it in an
> article's text, or whether an image should be used instead.
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
>
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Re: Unicode characters in Chrome

Aryeh Gregor
On Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 9:36 AM, Gerard Meijssen
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> The notion that our editors should decide if a font is well enough
> supported  is a bit off. It is saying "you cannot properly write your
> language because ...".

No, it's not.  We're talking about a specific article on the English
Wikipedia about a single obscure character, and related cases where
isolated characters don't display properly.  Nothing I said should be
construed to have any bearing on radically different situations, such
as an entire wiki whose language is poorly supported on common
platforms.  While I appreciate that you take a great interest in
technical topics related to internationalization, this is not such a
topic.

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Re: Unicode characters in Chrome

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
This specific character mentioned in the article is used to write the
Tanimuca-Retuarã language. This is specified in the article. itself.
Languages that need characters that are missing in fonts that are in general
use are not isolated affairs. In the end there is only one solution; we
should be part of a solution that allows us to show all characters.
Thanks,
     GerardM

2009/9/25 Aryeh Gregor
<[hidden email]<Simetrical%[hidden email]>
>

> On Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 9:36 AM, Gerard Meijssen
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > The notion that our editors should decide if a font is well enough
> > supported  is a bit off. It is saying "you cannot properly write your
> > language because ...".
>
> No, it's not.  We're talking about a specific article on the English
> Wikipedia about a single obscure character, and related cases where
> isolated characters don't display properly.  Nothing I said should be
> construed to have any bearing on radically different situations, such
> as an entire wiki whose language is poorly supported on common
> platforms.  While I appreciate that you take a great interest in
> technical topics related to internationalization, this is not such a
> topic.
>
> _______________________________________________
> Wikitech-l mailing list
> [hidden email]
> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
>
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Re: Unicode characters in Chrome

Aryeh Gregor
On Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 1:53 PM, Gerard Meijssen
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> This specific character mentioned in the article is used to write the
> Tanimuca-Retuarã language. This is specified in the article. itself.

Ethnologue says it has 300 speakers, if I'm reading it correctly:

http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=tnc

With a literacy rate of 5% or less, I guess that works out to 15
people in the world who can actually read or write it?  If I'm reading
the figures correctly, Tanimuca-Retuarã is drastically below the
threshold where there can be any serious question of creating
educational resources in the language, so I really don't think
Wikimedia needs to concern itself with it.

In any event, we are talking about an article on the *English*
Wikipedia, and what the *English* Wikipedia should do when this
situation arises.  I made no comment on anything relating to anyone
trying to write Tanimuca-Retuarã, which nobody is on the English
Wikipedia.  It's a non sequitur.

> Languages that need characters that are missing in fonts that are in general
> use are not isolated affairs. In the end there is only one solution; we
> should be part of a solution that allows us to show all characters.

Those who want to help building fonts can feel free to do so.  It will
not change the fact that as Unicode expands, support for new additions
will be gradual, and wikis need to figure out something to do when a
character is not well supported by their viewers.

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Re: Unicode characters in Chrome

Steve Bennett-8
In reply to this post by Aryeh Gregor
On Sat, Sep 26, 2009 at 3:18 AM, Aryeh Gregor
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> No, it's not.  We're talking about a specific article on the English
> Wikipedia about a single obscure character, and related cases where
> isolated characters don't display properly.

Well, actually I was just using that character as a (fairly
unimportant) example.

Anyway, is there really no general solution to me coming across
various articles with characters that render as boxes? You seem to be
saying ("there's no font out there that really supports
*all* of Unicode") that the only solution is to download and install
the particular font that has the glyphs used by one particular
article...but that will then leave other articles uncovered.

I'm amazed there isn't even a reference unicode font that has all the glyphs?

Steve

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Re: Unicode characters in Chrome

Gerard Meijssen-3
In reply to this post by Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
I have been told off list that Windows-7 supports this character by default.
This is one valid reason to choose Windows-7 for your operating system. It
is also a challenge to other operating systems to be as good.
Thanks,
      GerardM

2009/9/25 Gerard Meijssen <[hidden email]>

> Hoi,
> This specific character mentioned in the article is used to write the
> Tanimuca-Retuarã language. This is specified in the article. itself.
> Languages that need characters that are missing in fonts that are in general
> use are not isolated affairs. In the end there is only one solution; we
> should be part of a solution that allows us to show all characters.
> Thanks,
>      GerardM
>
> 2009/9/25 Aryeh Gregor <[hidden email]<Simetrical%[hidden email]>
> >
>
>> On Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 9:36 AM, Gerard Meijssen
>>
>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>> > The notion that our editors should decide if a font is well enough
>> > supported  is a bit off. It is saying "you cannot properly write your
>> > language because ...".
>>
>> No, it's not.  We're talking about a specific article on the English
>> Wikipedia about a single obscure character, and related cases where
>> isolated characters don't display properly.  Nothing I said should be
>> construed to have any bearing on radically different situations, such
>> as an entire wiki whose language is poorly supported on common
>> platforms.  While I appreciate that you take a great interest in
>> technical topics related to internationalization, this is not such a
>> topic.
>>
>> _______________________________________________
>> Wikitech-l mailing list
>> [hidden email]
>> https://lists.wikimedia.org/mailman/listinfo/wikitech-l
>>
>
>
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Re: Unicode characters in Chrome

Tei-2
Or install the Unicode font that support it all.

Maybe Wikipedia can do

* {
 font-family:  "name of font that wikipedia recomend","Arial Unicode",
Helvetica, sans;
}

..and provide somewhere a link to such "recomended font", if that font
exist.  So, If a dude has that font installed, the page will use it,
and If it don't exist, It will use "Arial Unicode", and If arial
unicode don't exist,... It will use helvetica, and If helvetica don't
exist, any available sans serif font.


On Sun, Sep 27, 2009 at 1:01 PM, Gerard Meijssen
<[hidden email]> wrote:

> Hoi,
> I have been told off list that Windows-7 supports this character by default.
> This is one valid reason to choose Windows-7 for your operating system. It
> is also a challenge to other operating systems to be as good.
> Thanks,
>      GerardM
>
> 2009/9/25 Gerard Meijssen <[hidden email]>
>
>> Hoi,
>> This specific character mentioned in the article is used to write the
>> Tanimuca-Retuarã language. This is specified in the article. itself.
>> Languages that need characters that are missing in fonts that are in general
>> use are not isolated affairs. In the end there is only one solution; we
>> should be part of a solution that allows us to show all characters.
>> Thanks,
>>      GerardM
>>
>> 2009/9/25 Aryeh Gregor <[hidden email]<Simetrical%[hidden email]>
>> >
>>
>>> On Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 9:36 AM, Gerard Meijssen
>>>
>>> <[hidden email]> wrote:
>>> > The notion that our editors should decide if a font is well enough
>>> > supported  is a bit off. It is saying "you cannot properly write your
>>> > language because ...".
>>>
>>> No, it's not.  We're talking about a specific article on the English
>>> Wikipedia about a single obscure character, and related cases where
>>> isolated characters don't display properly.  Nothing I said should be
>>> construed to have any bearing on radically different situations, such
>>> as an entire wiki whose language is poorly supported on common
>>> platforms.  While I appreciate that you take a great interest in
>>> technical topics related to internationalization, this is not such a
>>> topic.
>>>
...


--
--
ℱin del ℳensaje.

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Re: Unicode characters in Chrome

Aryeh Gregor
In reply to this post by Steve Bennett-8
On Sun, Sep 27, 2009 at 6:13 AM, Steve Bennett <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Well, actually I was just using that character as a (fairly
> unimportant) example.

That's why I said "and related cases where isolated characters don't
display properly".

> Anyway, is there really no general solution to me coming across
> various articles with characters that render as boxes? You seem to be
> saying ("there's no font out there that really supports
> *all* of Unicode") that the only solution is to download and install
> the particular font that has the glyphs used by one particular
> article...but that will then leave other articles uncovered.

The solution is to not use poorly-supported Unicode characters in
articles.  No, there's no better solution.  It's just the same as
using fancy new HTML5 features that aren't widely supported, or
whatever.  That's the price of using evolving standards with multiple
implementations instead of a homogeneous one-vendor system.

> I'm amazed there isn't even a reference unicode font that has all the glyphs?

There's not any that I know of.  Go figure out how to propose the idea
to the Unicode Consortium if you like.

On Sun, Sep 27, 2009 at 7:01 AM, Gerard Meijssen
<[hidden email]> wrote:
> I have been told off list that Windows-7 supports this character by default.
> This is one valid reason to choose Windows-7 for your operating system. It
> is also a challenge to other operating systems to be as good.

The relative merits of operating systems are not relevant to either
this topic or this list.

On Sun, Sep 27, 2009 at 7:17 AM, Tei <[hidden email]> wrote:
> Maybe Wikipedia can do
>
> * {
>  font-family:  "name of font that wikipedia recomend","Arial Unicode",
> Helvetica, sans;
> }

Wikipedia will not set a default font for Latin-based scripts at any
time in the foreseeable future.  We need to respect users' choice of
default font wherever possible.  (For some languages' scripts this may
not be practical, but that's a separate issue.)  As far as I know,
most browsers these days will try to use any available font that has
the character in question if the specified font doesn't have it.  I'm
not totally sure about that, though.

It still doesn't solve the problem that some characters aren't
supported in almost any commonly-available font.

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Re: Unicode characters in Chrome

Gerard Meijssen-3
Hoi,
The question asked in the first post is "What can I do to get more special
characters to render correctly in Chrome?". The answer that I supplied is
use Windows 7 because this will support such characters. This is certainly
true for the character given as an example.

Consequently, my answer is very much on topic. Not all operating systems are
equal in their support in their support of Unicode. Windows 7 apparantly
does a better job.
Thanks,
     GerardM

PS I am not happy with this fact but it just happens to be this way.

2009/9/27 Aryeh Gregor
<[hidden email]<Simetrical%[hidden email]>
>

>
> On Sun, Sep 27, 2009 at 7:01 AM, Gerard Meijssen
> <[hidden email]> wrote:
> > I have been told off list that Windows-7 supports this character by
> default.
> > This is one valid reason to choose Windows-7 for your operating system.
> It
> > is also a challenge to other operating systems to be as good.
>
> The relative merits of operating systems are not relevant to either
> this topic or this list.
>
>
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Re: Unicode characters in Chrome

Neil Harris-2
In reply to this post by Tei-2
Tei wrote:

> Or install the Unicode font that support it all.
>
> Maybe Wikipedia can do
>
> * {
>  font-family:  "name of font that wikipedia recomend","Arial Unicode",
> Helvetica, sans;
> }
>
> ..and provide somewhere a link to such "recomended font", if that font
> exist.  So, If a dude has that font installed, the page will use it,
> and If it don't exist, It will use "Arial Unicode", and If arial
> unicode don't exist,... It will use helvetica, and If helvetica don't
> exist, any available sans serif font.
>  

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Unicode and its related templates.

-- Neil


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