Archæology

The assorted finds of Artefact Publishing

Unicode typography, scripts, and markup

I have sometimes wondered just how many problems I cause for visitors to this site by using such things as:

There is a Movable Type plugin to translate plain ASCII punctuation characters into typographic punctuation HTML entities, as per the first item above. Though I don’t use it myself, I assume from its existence (and the lack of comment on the webpage) that standard fonts include these glyphs.

The same surely cannot be said of other alphabets, but that’s okay because I almost always provide a transliteration (though the transliteration will often include characters which themselves may not be in common fonts; oh well), and in any event people who do not have appropriate fonts installed probably can’t understand the language anyway.

The markup issue should be fairly minor, except in the case of those citations. Mozilla/Firebird, at least, has clunky support for getting cite attribute information from a quotation; the trick, even when the browser does support the full glory (cough) of HTML, is knowing that the information is there in the first place. I will occasionally check quotations in other websites, to see whether they are fully marked up; I have invariably been disappointed. To aid those who don’t do such things, the screen stylesheet for this site will display the citation after a blockquote, just as links to PDF and PS files are marked as such. Yes, I do use the type attribute of the a element.

Given that I am not about to do anything any differently, even if users do have problems, perhaps a better question than my opening one is this: does anyone but me appreciate the flourishes, visible and behind the scenes, that I put into this site?

Posted by jamie on August 29, 2003 12:41+12:00

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