Behond the Table Driven Text Service, Part 14 (Don't expect too much from numbers)

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/10/21 10:01 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2008/10/21/9009276.aspx


Prior posts in the series:

Now often the consequences of combining all this information together can get tricky.

I first mentioned the particular problem in Part 1 -- when I pointed out

Unfortunately, you can also select a candidate by typing the number on the left. I say unfortunately given the strange interaction between typing numbers and also typing the number used to identify items in a list.

This is a lesson that was learned the hard way with the Amharic IME in Vista. :-)

Now I have talked about Ethiopic numbers in the past (like in Why that is positively Ethiopic!).

If you just type the numbers e.g. 0123456789, you just get the number you type.

But if you type ', you get into (for lack of an official term) Fidel number mode, defined in TableTextServiceAmharic.txt like:

"0" = "0"
"1" = "1"
"2" = "2"
"3" = "3"
"4" = "4"
"5" = "5"
"6" = "6"
"7" = "7"
"8" = "8"
"9" = "9"

"'1" = "፩"
"'10" = "፲"
"'100" = "፻"
"'1000" = "፲፻"
"'10000" = "፼"

"'2" = "፪"
"'20" = "፳"
"'200" = "፪፻"
"'2000" = "፳፻"
"'20000" = "፪፼"

"'3" = "፫"
"'30" = "፴"
"'300" = "፫፻"
"'3000" = "፴፻"
"'30000" = "፫፼"

"'4" = "፬"
"'40" = "፵"
"'400" = "፬፻"
"'4000" = "፵፻"
"'40000" = "፬፼"

"'5" = "፭"
"'50" = "፶"
"'500" = "፭፻"
"'5000" = "፶፻"
"'50000" = "፭፼"

"'6" = "፮"
"'60" = "፷"
"'600" = "፮፻"
"'6000" = "፷፻"
"'60000" = "፮፼"

"'7" = "፯"
"'70" = "፸"
"'700" = "፯፻"
"'7000" = "፸፻"
"'70000" = "፯፼"

"'8" = "፰"
"'80" = "፹"
"'800" = "፰፻"
"'8000" = "፹፻"
"'80000" = "፰፼"

"'9" = "፱"
"'90" = "፺"
"'900" = "፱፻"
"'9000" = "፺፻"
"'90000" = "፱፼"

which will look like this:

Now although the idea is kinda cool to let you type the European number and have all of the zero forms of the Fidel numbers just show up, the fact that what you are typing and the index numbers for the list are the same thing mean you can't ever type what you are being given the hints for.

So to use the candidate list in that case, you have to scroll to pick the item or click on it or something like that.

Plus, when typing numbers the need to constantly accept candidates is also kind of a pain, and it would in retrospect have been better to consider including all of the numbers rather than just the ones with zeroes in them.

But we were learning; in some ways we still are. :-)

Now the options for dealing with this are limited, but I'll talk about them soon, though in the end the current definition in the Amharic IME has some real limitations....

Now to whether there is a bug in the underlying technology that gives hints that you can't use? I may be a philosopher but code clearly isn't, and the code underneath here is just doing what it is told to. So the underlying bug can mainly be in the definition.

And the moral of the story (and a moral that my friend Cathy could really get behind!) is not to expect too much from numbers!


This blog brought to you by ' (U+0027, aka APOSTROPHE)


# wood on 31 Oct 2008 9:47 PM:

hi, Kaplan

Limitation of number key in TDTS not only affecting input of numbers, but also Input of characters. Vista is a nightmare of Chinese User because it changed our typing habit , we strongly feel that the new one is very difficult to use --  can't use number key to select candidate, need to use shift + number, and

can't use space bar to turn to the next page of candidate window, need to use page down key.

Therefore many Chinese people downgrade to XP to shift back the old imgen an uimetool to SLOVE the problem vista produced . I hope the new Windows can slove our problems at let me feel happy in typing Chinese.


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