------ Original Message ------
From "Hans Hagen" <j.ha...@xs4all.nl<mailto:j.ha...@xs4all.nl>>
To "ntg-context@ntg.nl<mailto:ntg-context@ntg.nl>" 
Date 9/22/2023 7:15:25 AM
Subject [NTG-context] Re: Toggling the symbol for the zero-width joiner and 
related Unicode control characters

** Caution: EXTERNAL Sender **

On 9/22/2023 2:39 PM, Hamid,Idris wrote:

b. we want all Unicode control symbols to be suppressed in final pdf output 
(for, e.g., printing).

they basically are unless some font features keeps them around which is
out of our control

irr it was you who wanted them to be wiped decades ago as some fonts
visualized them by default

Yes, that's exactly the point: Somewhere along the course of history, it became 
standard for Arabic-script fonts (and other cursive-script fonts as well) to 
include symbols for the control characters.

In typo-rep there is also

%D \starttyping
%D \definefontfeature[default][default][mode=node,formatters=strip]
%D \stoptyping

You included some notes about Khaled, so I guess he faced the same issue. His 
Amiri font displays the symbols by default, as do other Arabic fonts.

(It seems he never considered making it an opentype feature in the font itself, 
but since his focus is/was XeTeX/HB (HB is rather rigid and dictatorial) I 
guess that's not surprising.)

But therein lies the problem: ConTeXt shows the rendering by default, and we 
need to turn it off. Since most non-Latin typography targets Uniscribe 
applications which allows for toggling, the font developers (commercial or 
free) don't have to concern themselves with this issue.


Since Word rules the world, most font designers target it. Since Word provides 
for toggling the symbols -- needed for editing purposes -- there was no need 
for Arabic-script font designers to worry about the symbols showing up where 
they are not wanted.

(I suppose that InDesign behaves the same way.)

That's what was meant when I spoke of the continued effects of the WYSIWYG 
curse: It saved font designers from having to think much about this issue.

Not really -) This brings us to the point of consistency: For Arabic-script 
fonts, hard symbolic rendering of the Unicode control characters is the rule, 
not the exception. So not "an inconsistent mess" -- at least not as far as 
Arabic-script typography is concerned.

so you want to see soem zwj sumbol in a rendered text?

Only in verbatim/\type'd text where it is appropriate, even necessary. Thanks 
to Word/WYSIWYG, the rule is de facto, but it is not de jure -)

Ideally, Scintilla (Scite, Notepad++, etc.) should do the same, or provide a 
toggle, as MS Notepad does.

(Tangent: In terms of Unicode functionality, MS Notepad is still unrivalled, 
even in 2023!)

We agree that for final printed output it is not appropriate (except perhaps in 
a paper that discusses Unicode, fonts, etc., in which case it can be rendered 
using the figures or symbols mechanism -- or toggled as needed.)

I hope the above made sense.

Best wishes
Idris Samawi Hamid, Professor
Department of Philosophy
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
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