On Fri, Oct 21, 2005 at 09:35:12AM -0400, Rob Kinyon wrote:
> On 10/21/05, Steve Peters <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
> > On Fri, Oct 21, 2005 at 02:37:09PM +0200, Juerd wrote:
> > > Steve Peters skribis 2005-10-21  6:07 (-0500):
> > > > Older versions of Eclipse are not able to enter these characters.  
> > > > That's
> > > > where the copy and paste comes in.
> > >
> > > That's where upgrades come in.
> > >
> > That's where lots of money to update to the next version of WSAD becomes the
> > limiting factor.
> So, you are proposing that the Perl of the Unicode era be limited to
> ASCII because a 15 year old editor cannot handle the charset? That's
> like suggesting that operating systems should all be bootable from a
> single floppy because not everyone has access to a CD drive.

Um, that's not what I'm hearing.

To type in a Unicode character requires machinations beyond just
hitting a labelled key on the keybourd.  There are no standards
for these machinations - what must be done is different for
Windows vs. Linux, and different for specific applications
(text-mode mutt vs. xvi vs. Eclipse vs. ...).

So, a book can't just show code and expect the reader to be
able to use it, and no book is going to be able to tell all
of its users how to type the characters because there are so
many different ways.

Any serious programmer will be able to sort out how to do
things but casual programmers won't be typing the extended
characters enough to learn how to do it without looking it
up each time.  Proprammers that use many different computers
and applications will have difficulty remembering which of
the varous incantations happen to work on the system they're
currently using.  People who do sort out a good working
environment will be at a loss when they occassionally have to do
something on a different system and no longer know how to type
"basic" characters.  (But since in their normal environment they
do know how, they may never have known the ASCII workarounds,
so they'll have to look them up.)  I've gotten away from
programming enough that I often have to look up a function
or operator definition to check on details; but that is much
less disruptive to the thought process than having to look up
how to type a character.

I think that the reasons for using Unicode characters are good
ones and that there is no good alternative.  However, doing
so does make Perl less accessable for casual programmers.
(While we may deride the Learn to Web Program in 5 Minutes
crowd, that did get many people involved with Perl, and I'm
sure some of them evolved beyond those limited roots, just
as an earlier generation of programmers had some who evolved
beyond their having started with Basic into nonetheless becoming
competent and knowledgeable craftsmen.)

We need to have a "Why Unicode is the lesser of evils" document
to refer to whenever this issue rizes up again.  The genuine
problems involved ensure that the issue will continue to arise,
so we can't just get mad at the people who raise it.


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