Meet the Unicode Input Tool/Converter Developer

Brett Zamir

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Why was Unicode Input Tool/Converter created?

I originally made this extension to be able to convert between Unicode characters, entities, and character references, but it has since taken on a life of its own in perhaps more usefully for many people, being able to find characters represented in Unicode (e.g., by region, name, code, or other features) or identify the description and other information pertaining to a particular character.

What's next for Unicode Input Tool/Converter

Requests--especially funded ones!--are welcome...

Here are my collected ideas so far...

GENERAL
-----------------
NOTES RE: LOCALIZERS
1) With new translators, be sure to explicitly mention modifying other lang.
equivalent for these (the first character shown by default to users)?
Should be ok with (European language) locales so far completed:
extensions.charrefunicode.currstartset=a
extensions.charrefunicode.startset=a
2) Always update partial locales folder

CODE
1) Could use own functions to simplify DOM calls
2) Might be able to use , etc. to reduce a lot of code here
3) Review, comment

HELP
1) More attractive titles ( if Mac supports now)
2) More tooltips
a) Specialized search textboxes especially need
3) See also CHART idea to be able to hide entities, etc. in chart for
novices (though Windows char. identifier does show code points)
4) Change extension name? /Unicode Solutions, ~ Skills, ~ Tricks/ as per
Karoly's thoughts? Avoid Unicode in title for sake of novices:
"Character Finder/Browser/Info/Converter", but taking into account
existing add-ons.

TOOLBAR
1) Save snippets of favorite output text for later reuse (and later
access to chart);
make available as a pull-down from toolbar

CUSTOM PROTOCOL
1) Allow custom protocol (triggered by any website) to find a specific
targeted character or perform a category search
2) See also META-DATA re: search links (i.e., for internal use)

CONTEXT MENU
1) Context menu: Add pref to not show context menu unless there is text
context (for those who want less context-menu real estate taken up?

DIRECTIONALITY IN TEXT BOXES
1) Add directionality-sensitivity (e.g., for Arabic, Hebrew, etc.)

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SEARCH
1) Search to allow contains|is|is not|begins|ends?
2) Build table browser (for searches)
3) Visually distinguish searches from browsing character, both setting apart
controls and in display (also for table view?)
4) Search all properties (e.g., white-space characters)--i.e., represented in
Unicode data files, or correlate/link to (e.g., lower-case equiv. of capital);
see http://www.unicode.org/Public/UNIDATA/UCD.html , on fields to consider;
see also META-DATA re: extra meta-data

CHART
1) Website: 􏿾 AND 􏿿 should be listed as???? Others?
2) Print chart
3) Can textboxes or at least the table be made to expand with the window
being expanded? (flex?)
4) Option to show chart as list/tree (advantages of being easily sortable
and pullable), etc.
5) Cross-check blocks.txt with own system:
http://www.unicode.org/Public/UNIDATA/Blocks.txt (?)
6) Stop field width from changing for certain characters (should be
constant! Due to XHTML/XUL hybrid?)
7) Option to hide entities entirely for the sake of novices?
8) Automatically show new PDF link whenever changing chart results (e.g.,
after search)
9) When context menu retrieves current char in chart view, get
description too?
10) Option to output directly to a document for chart output? Add as sidebar?


META-DATA
1) Use multiple select to determine which meta-data fields to show?
2) More search links besides upper/lower case ones (various types and
trigger search drop-downs?); disallow input in textbox (but allow copying)?
3) Extra metadata (and add search fields for them and search links for them
and selectively show them)
a) Add property files' meta-data as textbox or drop-down as appropriate
b) See also SEARCH
4) PINYIN META-DATA
a) Show pinyin, etc. optionally next to character (at least give higher
priority to Mandarin?)
b) Paste box to display range of characters sequentially in this style (and
pastebox to convert pinyin, etc.)
c) Generate XHTML Ruby or other formats (including just hex, etc.) out
of this data? (print table option; rename "printunicode" function
to "displayUnicodeTable" to avoid confusion)
5) PERSONAL OR COLLABORATIVE NOTES
a) Display/Search/Print own additions (mnemonics, user-added, etc.)
b) Allow tagging (even server-connected collaboration) to add
descriptions (e.g., "slash" for "solidus")

CONVERSION
1) SURROGATES:
a) Could allow surrogates to be directly input and displayed (e.g., Unicode for �), as they already
can be converted (or should the conversion be restricted since a surrogate is not allowable directly); see difference in
converting Unicode equivalent of �� vs. that with a space in the middle: � �
b) Should surrogates be made convertable from one entity form to another (hex/dec surrogate pair to/from hex/dec single);
(when converting individual surrogate to "Unicode", it will already work, though could disallow in one version of the button)
c) Conversion of "HTML" entity doesn't work if both surrogates together or if composite Unicode character used in non-entity form
Note: some validation systems should not only check for non-characters, but also surrogates without subsequent matching surrogate
Button consolidation
2) Consolidate buttons into menu to ensure full bi-directionality? (but will also be less efficient as requires extra click to
select "from" and "to" menus)
3) Could consolidate HTML conversion functions in JS into one function
4) See also META-DATA re: pinyin conversion
5) Could make hex case independent in display vs. conversion as with xstyle formerly (?)
6) Option to auto-convert HTML entities with upper-case 'X' to lower-case for sake of XML?
7) Feedback in conversions, such as total number replaced
8) Support U+ conversions?
9) Add alternate treatment of " (as with ')
10) Search by/Convert all forms of hex, etc., not just entities?
11) Convert Unicode to HTML ents AND Hex OR Unicode to HTML ents AND DEC
(to character references where HTML entity is not available)


PREFERENCES
1) Announce how to get separate Unihan.sqlite and where to install for those having trouble?;
a) describe import routine for Unihan, and add code for database (see those todos) (?)

DTD
1) Save multiple DTDs (rename as entities?), including some built-in such as http://www.w3.org/Math/characters/
2) Indicate how to form an entity and how they will be used

About the Developer

Developer Information
Name Brett Zamir
Homepage http://brett-zamir.me/
User since April 1, 2007
Number of add-ons developed 15 add-ons
Average rating of developer's add-ons Rated 4 out of 5 stars