Thursday , July 2 2020

A comment on Hacker News led to 4½ new Unicode characters (2016), Hacker News


On 22 June 2016,Unicode version 9.0 was published. As part of that, 4 new symbols were introduced – and another one was re-purposed.

This is the (brief) story of how a couple of geeks added⏻, ⏼, ⭘, ⏽, ⏾to Unicode!

On 2nd Dec 2013,I asked this question on HackerNews

I was looking for the electrical “standby” symbol – AKA IEC 5009 / IEEE

. You know, the circle with the line through it. The one that’s on every single bloody piece of electronic equipment produced since the mid – 1970 s.

It’s not in the Unicode standard.

I can, if I want, have asnowman☃ or areversed rotated floral bullet☙.

What other useful and / or important symbols are missing from Unicode?

The only person to reply wasJoe Loughry. He took up the challenge and together we started working on the proposal. We had the very generous help ofBruce Nordman, who was involved in the originalIEEE 1621standard.

Working in the open on GitHub,we wrote up a proposal and created a font. After a lot of hard work –and even more form filling– we submitted the proposal in January (**************************************************************.

We then entered a period of emails, conference calls, and technical discussions. Were these the right symbols? (Yes!) Had we shown clear evidence of their use? (Yes!) Were they free of copyright restrictions? (Yes!) Did the members of the Unicode Consortium think the symbols would be a useful addition? (Yes! Yes! Hmmm! Maybe! No!)

Wait ?! What?andwere universally liked.

There was some discussion aroundasseveral “moon” characters already existed.

☽☾🌑🌒🌓🌔🌕🌖🌗🌘🌙🌚🌛🌜🌝

None of them face the right way, at the correct angle, nor do they convey the semantic meaning of “Sleep” – sowas accepted.

Now we came on toand. Off and On. Unicode haslotsof straight line and circles. Did theyreallyneed their own symbols?

After muchintellectual discussion and a round of voting, it was decided that none of the existing characters were suitable for “On” – sobecame its own character.

Rather than adding yet another circle, the consensus was to imbueheavy circle (U 2B 58)with a new semantic meaning.
Heavy Circle-fs8
So,is our ½ character 😉

In February 2014 symbols were approved by the ISO 10646 Working Group 2 (JTC 1 / SC 2 / WG 2) at the WG2 # 62 meeting to go intoAmendment 2 to ISO / IEC 10646:.

Then – two and a half years of waiting. Occasionally answering questions from interested parties. Trying to convince open source fonts to prepare to accept the new characters. Prodding Wikipedia. And more waiting.

And now, on a rainy midsummer morning,Unicode 9.0 has been published. We did it!

OMG! We did it!
I helped get new characters into Unicode 9!
(Will update) https://t.co/lYZDjMoQR1when I stop dancing!pic.twitter.com/E6FnAT4xEm

– ꧂Terence Eden꧂ ⏻ (@edent) (June) , 2016

The next stage is up to you!

A huge thanks to everyone who helped out along the way. Whether it was in-depth technical research, or just a tweet of encouragement – you kept us going and helped make us a success.

⏻To The People!

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