Re: feasible smart quote solution

From: Karl Ove Hufthammer (
Date: Thu Aug 15 2002 - 05:05:09 EDT

  • Next message: Karl Ove Hufthammer: "Re: feasible smart quote solution"

    Tomas Frydrych <> wrote in

    > Under the circumstances I see only two realistic options; (1)
    > no smart quotes at all. This is pretty much the case at the
    > moment, and I find it rather unsatisfactory. (2) Assume that
    > all straight quotes are quotes or mid-word apostorphies and
    > let the user handle the rest manually. If he does not like it,
    > let him turn it off.

    Or 3) Make the smart quotes stuff 'smarter' (Quark's smart quotes
    are smarter than Word's and AbiWord's), and implement a piece of
    smart quote selection UI. I know this sounds complicated, and it
    is (especially implementing it cross-platform), but this is the
    way to *really* solve the smart quote problem. Here's my
    suggesion: When the user inputs " or ', it's converted by the
    really smart smart quotes system, and a two-column character
    selection box is displayed below the character, containing various
    quote characters (and apostrophs, ditto marks, &c.) (with the ones
    used in the chosen language at the top). The user can then chose
    the one she wants using the arrow keys, or the mouse. The quote
    character is then changed. If the user inputs a new character, the
    box disappears (and the character typed is inserted). This doesn't
    complicate typing, as you can just type as you've always done, and
    " are converted to smart quotes. But when you need to change the
    quote characters, this is easily accomplished with a few key

    I could create a few mock-up screen shots showing what I mean if
    you're interested. The quote character selection box should look
    similar to the prefs box at page 3 of
    <URL: >.

    > I think as soon as you start striving for something "better"
    > than this, i.e., you start assuming that you can work out when
    > the quote is not a quote (which you cannot), you will end up
    > with behaviour which is less predictable, and consquently more
    > irritating for the user.

    I agree. Predicatability is more important. Else you'll only
    confuse the user. (But the current smart quotes system can also be
    improved without becoming unpredictable!)

    Karl Ove Hufthammer

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