Re: slashed zeroes

Carl Morris (msftrncs@htcnet.com)
Tue, 4 Mar 1997 17:11:58 -0600


Message-Id: <199703042312.RAA28515@inet.htcnet.com>
From: "Carl Morris" <msftrncs@htcnet.com>
To: "Lee Daniel Crocker" <lee@piclab.com>
Cc: "WWW HTML List" <www-html@w3.org>
Subject: Re: slashed zeroes
Date: Tue, 4 Mar 1997 17:11:58 -0600

| For the text to be semantically correct, searchable, indexable, etc.,
| each "zero" must use Unicode code point 0x0030.  Even if there were
| a character somewhere else that graphically resembled what you
wanted,
| it would be incorrect to use it.  "Characters" are units of
information,
| not graphical representations.  Nowhere is that more critical than in
| a supposedly universal information medium like the web.  You must use
| the ordinary 0, or speech renderers, search engines, etc. will not
| read the right information.  If you use the right codes for numerals,
| users in Europe will see slashed 7s and big 1s since presumably they
| have chosen a font to their liking, and Americans will see skinny 1s
| and single-stroke 7s.

Not necessarily true.  Whether it be space or NBSP, a search engine
should not be rendered useless, but it may instead have additional
options such as now the full string "hello there" (coded as
"hello&nbsp;there") will be treated as one word, but the search engine
won't make a user type in the NBSP character code to get it.  Its all
in how the world is set to work.  If the Unicode has a character called
"slashed zero" then systems must be completely and properly configured
to downgrade that character to a real zero, just like they must
understand that NBSP is simple a non breaking space.  It has also been
suggested in the past to allow using entities to suggest rendering,
such as all the different space codes that were once a part of the
draft HTML spec.  None of those codes, as far as I know, are true
unicode characters.  A "&szero" is simply a request to the browser to
slash a zero.  Sure, other ways could be used, in CSS some form of a
text property for slashed text could be created, it probably wouldn't
hurt because I think in publishing a slashed character represents a
deleted character in a draft correct?

Lots of options out there, I just wanted to see if anyone knew of one
that may work in the near future and to suggest ideas if there weren't
any.

| If you wish to make some suggestion to the reading software as to
what
| glyphs would be preferred for that character, then you should use a
| font recommendation or font-attribute recommendation in a style
sheet.
| It would be nice if CSS had that as a font attribute.  In the
meantime,
| you'll have to rely on your readers to choose a font they like.  One
| might think that if they really wanted their zeroes slashed, they'd
| want /all/ their zeroes slashed, not just the ones on your pages, and
| would have chosen their default font appropriately.

Yes, except as you say below, basically there are VERY FEW fonts that
have slashed zero's.  There is no reason why the slashed zero must be a
specific part of the font, it should however be an option by the
renderer because in some languages such as "International Amateur
Radio" a zero with a slash is considered more readable in more nations
than one without.  As you say about the 1's and 7's, a slashed zero
should be an option.  Can anyone state that it is not a custom to use a
slashed zero in any English nation or nation that uses decimal
notation?

| In my experience, fixed-width "system" type fonts tend to have
slashed
| zeroes, but regular typographical fonts generally do not.

Yes, but it seems funny that everywhere you turn and look in the
publishing industry, no one has any trouble getting a slash in the zero
for an amateur radio operator.