Wednesday, December 08, 2010

HTML has failed me now:

Have you noticed how food products are decorated - in English - with diacritical marks to make them sell better? Häagen Dazs, Freshëns, you know what I mean. I got to thinking that it was time for the food industry to move to the next level: umlauts, accents, and cedlla marks on consonants. Now as a practiced creator of whimsy, I understood that writing up my idea was a two-step process, as follows:
  • Figure out how to put diacritical marks on consonants in web-page HTML
  • Think up some doozies.

    What stopped me was step one, and the reason is that character sets have evolved out of an ancient muck. HTML supports thousands of real, true letters, punctuation and numeric characters. In the old days, to make a diacritical mark, we had to tell a computer to display one symbol, to backspace, and to overlay another symbol. I could use that old system to put, say, an umlaut on an 'm', which I think would really sell. The current HTML character sets don't deal kindly with made-up characters.

    Well, there's still a way, but I really don't care to spend my time on it. I could design my own font, in which, say, 'm' looked like m-plus-umlaut (etc.), and then display text for my blog item in my own designed font. But this is whimsy we're talking about! It's not worth the effort.

    Suggestions, anyone?
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