what? more about smart quotes?

Subject: what? more about smart quotes?
From: WJCarpenter (bill-abisource@carpenter.ORG)
Date: Wed Jul 12 2000 - 20:11:43 CDT

I don't blame anyone who tuned out long ago when seeing the term
remapGlyphs. But, surprise, this was just a piece of Abi application
workaround for a general infrastructure deficiency (missing glyphs in
some font situations).

Now comes the good part, an actual user feature: smart quotes. (What?
Smart quotes is not the same as remapGlyphs? Nope.) If you're
anything like me, you're thinking that there is a huge effort being
paid to this whole smart quotes area, and it might not be worth it.
The reason that I do think it's worth it is that the tiny difference
between ASCII quote characters and curly smart quotes can take a
document from having a geeky, technical look to having a non-geeky
desktop publishing look.

I contemplate adding three aspects of smart quotes to Abi:

1. Generation of smart quotes on the fly. As a user types an ASCII
single or double quote, depending on context, the appropriate UCS
smart quote character is actually inserted into the document and

2. Completely wiping all instances of smart quotes from a document by
mapping them back to the related ASCII character. By this I mean an
actual change to the characters in a document, not just display/print.

3. Scanning an entire document and generating smart quotes where
appropriate, by which I mean where they would have been generated
according to item #1 if the user was typing instead of working with an
existing document.

[[NOTE: I suppose #2 and #3 could also be performed on the current
selection instead of the whole document.]]

[[NOTE: Items #2 and #3 should mutally round-trip quite well,
although the use of ASCII backquote probably won't make it.]]


A. I am a native English speaker and have a rusty knowledge of a few
Western European languages. The situation for English with respect to
smart quotes is quite well-defined. Does anyone know of any analogs
to smart quotes in other languages? For the moment, I'm assuming that
anyone who uses, for example, the French guillemet probably has a
convenient input method for it and doesn't need some character mapping
to take place in an application like Abi.

B. I would expect to hardwire the set of smart quote characters and
the contexts in which they should be changed right into the source
code, not providing any user preference way of overriding, deleting
from, or adding to the list or the patterns. (Of course, there is an
on/off switch in preferences.) Does anyone think more flexibility is
needed (even, perhaps, to ultimately accomplish some goal unrelated to
smart quotes ... for example, dynamic abbreviation expansion or
autocorrecting typing errors)?

bill@carpenter.ORG (WJCarpenter)    PGP 0x91865119
38 95 1B 69 C9 C6 3D 25    73 46 32 04 69 D6 ED F3

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