Unicode Character Names

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2006/03/25 12:00 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2006/03/25/560869.aspx

Andrew West has started a very interesting series entitled Unicode Character Names.

Check out Part 1 (the Good the Bad and the Ugly) and Part 2 (a Name is for Life). And if you are like me you'll be waiting and hoping for additional parts in the future! :-)

My favorite piece so far is at the end of Part 2:

Since the merger between Unicode and ISO/IEC 10646 only two characters have ever changed their name, namely U+00C6 and U+00E6, which were originally called LATIN CAPITAL LETTER A E and LATIN SMALL LETTER A E in Unicode 1.0, then changed to LATIN CAPITAL LIGATURE AE and LATIN SMALL LIGATURE AE in Unicode 1.1 after the merger with ISO/IEC 10646, and finally changed to their current names LATIN CAPITAL LETTER AE and LATIN SMALL LETTER AE in Unicode 2.0. The latter change was due to representations by the Danish Standards Association who considered these two characters to be letters rather than ligatures; but this caused so much trouble and acrimony that the respective committees of Unicode and ISO/IEC 10646 resolved never again to make any name changes, regardless of the severity of the mistake or the triviality of the change required (see the Unicode Standard Stability Policy).

Why is it my favorite?

(perhaps I should say favourite given the British slant on names?)

Well, it is an issue that comes up a lot and people simply don't appreciate what a nightmare it would be to deal with a constant flurry of name changing requests. There would be no time to encode any actual characters!

In any case, I am glad that BabelStone is on the lists of blogs I read, because if it were not I would miss gems like this....


# orcmid on 25 Mar 2006 4:42 PM:

WOW!!  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I was fretting about having to do something like BabelMap for my nfoWare projects and now I don't have to.  What great commentary and what a cool app.  I love this stuff.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 25 Mar 2006 11:22 PM:

Hi Dennis --

Which app are you referring to, exactly?

# Andrew West on 26 Mar 2006 5:32 AM:

Thanks for the kind remarks -- it means a lot coming from a fellow character historian such as yourself.

I've just posted Part 3 (http://babelstone.blogspot.com/2006/03/unicode-character-names-part-3-name-by.html) on formal aliases, which is what parts 1 and 2 have been leading up to.

# Mihai on 27 Mar 2006 12:38 PM:

>> Which app are you referring to, exactly?

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