On Wed, 14 Apr 2004 13:41:26 +0200, Marco Cimarosti
<marco.cimarosti@...> wrote:

> Nicholas Bodley wrote:

>> <http://www.macchiato.com/unicode/show.html>

>> I'm curious to know where it gets its glyphs from!
> Most browsers have a "show source code" menu command that allows you to
> read the script contained in the top frame.

Unfortunately, Opera, afaik, makes it difficult to see the Javascript. I
hope I'm wrong, because I'm (at least) an Opera fan.

Even if you don't know the
> JavaScript programming language, it is easy to recognize the piece of
> code which builds the URL for each character's picture:
> doc.write('<img src="http://www.unicode.org/gifs/24/',
> hexValue.substring(0,hexValue.length-2), '/U', hexValue,
> '.gif" alt="', hexValue, '">');

Seems like rather messy syntax! :)

> Assuming that the character code contained in variable <hexValue> is 262E
> (the peace symbol), what the above code does is inserting in the bottom
> frame the following HTML code:
> <img src="http://www.unicode.org/gifs/24/26/U262E.gif" alt="262E">
> This HTML code simply shows a picture stored in a subdirectory of the
> Unicode Consortium's server, namely:
> http://www.unicode.org/gifs/24/26/U262E.gif

After I posted that message, I had started to conclude that something like
this was happening. Remarkable.

Good grief! One .gif per Unicode code point. That's a lot of work,
although intelligent use of computers must surely help.

> guess that the Unicode's server contains at least another collection of
> GIF's with a different size.

At the moment, I'm wondering to what degree the process of creating the
GIF files has been automated. Considering the disclaimer that not all
glyphs are provided as GIFs, there might well be some human effort there.

> Mike Davis, the owner of www.macchiato.com and author of this script, is
> one of the inventors of Unicode and the current chairman of the Unicode
> Consortium, so he clearly has a good understanding of the data present on
> his own organization's web server, and exploited it to craft this little
> piece of magic.

No wonder Macchiato is an impressive Web site (imho)! Thanks for telling

>> One thinks there's something like a complete Unicode font hiding
> somewhere.
> No, I don't think such a thing exists.

I'm thinking of Everson Mono...

> AFAIK, current font technologies
> (including TrueType/OpenType) would not even allow you to have so many
> characters into a single font.

Arial Unicode has an impressive number of code points. If it's installed,
it will slow down the porcess of starting applications that refer to
system fonts, I think.

> But, of course, there must exist at least one *collection* of fonts
> containing all the Unicode characters, or it wouldn't have been possible
> to publish "The Unicode Standard" book.

Indeed. I'm too slow to abandon the idea of making my machine totally
Unicode-compatible. I might yet live to see the day when, say, Malayalam
renders correctly without installing specific software that includes it.
(Shucks, even Hindi/Devanagari!)

Marco, thanks very kindly for preparing a detailed explanation. Although
details of the Javascript syntax are unknown to me, I do know enough to
easily follow the path you described. I'm still surprised by the existence
of the Wondrous Bunch of GIFs, but, then, Unicode people do try hard to do
things as well as they can; when I first started to learn about Unicode, I
was inspired by the excellence of intent, and often accomplishment. It's
been a while since I listened to that lovely musical tribute on the CD in
the 3.0 book, but the inspiration is quite understandable.


Nicholas Bodley @#@ Waltham, Mass.
Opera build 3713