Re: Typeable characters

Larry Masinter (masinter@parc.xerox.com)
Thu, 19 Dec 1996 15:39:05 PST


To: mduerst@ifi.unizh.ch
Cc: uri@bunyip.com
In-Reply-To: <Pine.SUN.3.95.961219172057.245O-100000@enoshima>
Subject: Re: Typeable characters
From: Larry Masinter <masinter@parc.xerox.com>
Message-Id: <96Dec19.163905pdt."150"@palimpsest.parc.xerox.com>
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 1996 15:39:05 PST

# And some additional facts: A check on my Mac keyboard (standard
# Swiss German keyboard) and a check through my ECMA registry for
# ISO 646 versions showed that at least the following characters
# can also not be assumed to be widely typeable (not that I want
# to imply "widely" from "Swiss", but I know that the situation
# is similar all around Europe, and probably not better in Asia):

# "@", "$", "#"(for fragments).

Are you saying that people who cannot type an Internet email address
(which usually requires "@") should also be considered to be able to
type a URL?

# Together with "~", these characters may also sometimes be modified
# in gateways and other transports.

I think we reviewed this carefully and found it not to be the case.

================================================================
>    The URL syntax has been designed to promote transcribability over all
>    other concerns.  ....

to:
>    The URL syntax has been designed with transcribability as
>    its main concern.

# accepted. In fact, I would say that "as one of its main
    concerns".
================================================================
>    In such cases, the ability to access a resource is considered more
>    important than having its URL consist of the most meaningful of
>    components.

to:
>    In such cases, the ability to type an URL has been favored
>    in most cases. In some cases, existing previous usage has
>    let to the introduction of exception.


I don't really like either, but I'll work on it.

>    These exceptions favor users of US-American keyboards over others.

I don't think that everyone at CERN was using US-American keyboards;
in fact, when I visited, I remember having trouble typing when I was
given a system with a French keyboard.

# Add a note that "$" and "~" are not available on many keyboards.

The paragraph you quote doesn't seem to be the right context for that
note.

# Add a note saying that "#" is not available on many keyboards.

The paragraph you quote doesn't seem to be the right context for that
note, either.

# Either clearly say *here* that this is done despite the fact that
# typeability of "~" is limited, or go back to the original state
# of having "~" unwise (it appears indeed changed by some gateways).

The place you quote doesn't seem to be the right place to discuss the
design rationale (or, in this case, lack thereof). I think I will
leave out the "it is generally safe to unescape %7e when it occurs
near the beginning of an http URL path", since it's particularly
scheme dependent.

Larry