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Re: Unicode confusables and reordering characters considered harmful, a

From: Yuri Khan
Subject: Re: Unicode confusables and reordering characters considered harmful, a simple solution
Date: Thu, 4 Nov 2021 02:35:04 +0700

On Thu, 4 Nov 2021 at 02:09, Eli Zaretskii <eliz@gnu.org> wrote:

> Do you read Hebrew?

No. I just imagine how I’d perceive the text if I could.

> Those characters look like line noise there,
> whereas the text with the default display is perfectly readable, and
> most people won't even know these controls are there (as intended).

TUTORIAL.he is slightly special, in that both an editor and a
reader[^1] use the same mode (because once in a while the user is
instructed to edit some part of their copy). In most other cases, I
prefer remaps turned on when I’m an editor or reviewer, and off when
I’m a reader.

[^1]: Here, by “editor” and “reader” I mean the human roles, not software.

> > One does not only want to highlight, but also to actually see and
> > distinguish certain characters
> What for?  The absolute majority of people won't have any idea what is
> the effect of each of these controls, and how it differs from others.
> Even I many times need to talk myself through their effect on display.
> The UBA spec weighs in at more than 30 pages of highly technical text,
> and I don't expect people to memorize it by heart.

Most people, when in the reader role, probably won’t and shouldn’t have to.

If I’m editing a text in a bidi language, though, I am expected to use
format control characters, and so I must know where they are or are
not. In the same vein, when I edit a program expected to conform to a
coding style, I must know where spaces and tabs are, so I do not
introduce whitespace-only changes or trailing blanks and keep
indentation consistent. Or when I edit anything that will end up as a
web page I want to know which spaces and hyphens are non-breaking, so
the page will wrap correctly no matter how the user resizes their
window and/or zooms the page. (No, I do not trust tools to do these
things right; if they could, we would not need format control
characters at all. I like tools to let me check what they did and
correct if necessary.)

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