Re: "Difficult Characters" draft (in URLs)

Martin J. Duerst (mduerst@ifi.unizh.ch)
Wed, 7 May 1997 23:16:51 +0200 (MET DST)


Date: Wed, 7 May 1997 23:16:51 +0200 (MET DST)
From: "Martin J. Duerst" <mduerst@ifi.unizh.ch>
To: "Alain LaBont/e'/" <alb@riq.qc.ca>
cc: URI mailing list <uri@bunyip.com>
Subject: Re: "Difficult Characters" draft (in URLs)
In-Reply-To: <3.0.1.32.19970507160442.006d9ce0@riq.qc.ca>
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.96.970507230544.245s-100000@enoshima>

On Wed, 7 May 1997, Alain LaBont/e'/ wrote:

> [Martin] :
> >To be more precise, could you then agree to the suggestion
> >that uppercase accented letters should be discouraged in
> >URLs intended for a general "France-French" audience, given
> >as an example of how case might affect URLs, the reason for
> >this being the current widespread use of keyboards that make
> >it difficult to enter such characters?
> 
> No, we could not agree on this as long as upper case will not be
> discouraged for everybody. Even if upper case letters are not available on
> all machines, in France, all environments which use browsers have the
> possibility to copy (as you suggested for URLs) the exact characters
> required from either a system-provided table or an existing URL. Short-term
> considerations have made people take bad decisions in the past, that would
> be a bad decision too.

I am not clear whether I understand the facts correctly.
Is the vast majority of (France-)French users, at the present time,
able, in reasonable time and without having to consult a friend or
a manual and searching in menus and the like, to input an upper-case
accented letter?
[Please note that I don't mind if a user e.g. in Japan has to search
for an uppercase accented letter in a system table or so to input
a French URL, but that I don't think that should be what a lot of
French should have to do, because we want URLs to be user-friendly
to those that actually use it.]

If due to newer keyboards and the like, the answer is yes, then
of course we don't need a warning as I proposed it above.

If however the answer is no, then for the time being (and if necessary
by adding an explicit comment that this may change in the future)
we should leave that comment as it is. People in France may be
punished enough by the bad influences of the typewriter, but
I would rather prefer to advise URL creators to take this into
account than to punish the owners of such bad keyboards again.

Regards,	Martin.