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SignWriting List
June 1, 2010

Hello Steve -
You are such a generous and brilliant programmer, and we are grateful for all your hard work. This sounds like a good change towards possible Unicode acceptance someday and I think it is wonderful!

For all the programmers out there, stability with the symbols and coding is coming soon - This is apparently a necessary change, and it is Steve who has chosen to do this, and I am following his lead willingly ;-)

And thank you, Steve, for your caring and sharing with everyone - you really create magic for us daily... There have been positive responses on my Facebook page about the new SignWriting Wiki today - I was really pleased to see it -

SignWriting Wiki
http://www.signbank.org/wiki

Val ;-)

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On Jun 1, 2010, at 1:49 PM, Steve Slevinski wrote:

> Hi List,
> 
> This is a technical discussion.  Nothing is going to change regarding the writing system.  The change is only data related.
> 
> Back in 2008, I made a poor design choice for Binary SignWriting.   I needed to define what was a character for the encoding model.  I decided that each symbol should be a character.  Some others (Stuart Thiessen, Michael Everson, members of the WLDC, ...) thought that each BaseSymbol should be a character with an individual symbol being defined as a BaseSymbol character with one or two modifying characters.
> 
> Encoding with symbol characters seemed the better choice, rather than using 3 times the amount of data to say the same thing.  I was wrong.  My choice made searching by BaseSymbol much more difficult.  I was forced to pre-process the data before I could search.  This was wasted effort.  I realized the error of my ways when I was reading a discussion of searching with Unicode.
> 
> I need to fix my poor design choice and reencode the ISWA 2010 with BaseSymbol characters and modifiers.  I then need to refactor the character encoding model.  This should be a quick fix I'll have ready by Friday, but it changes BSW once again.  Hopefully for the last time.
> 
> On the bright side, this makes it easier for inclusion in Unicode.  With my previous encoding, I required an entire Unicode plane of 65,000 characters.  With the new encoding, I only need 1,280 characters.  This is a much better number. 
> Years ago, Michael Everson worked with Unicode for the tentative acceptance of SignWriting into the standard.  If you look at the Unicode roadmap for the Supplementary Multilingual Plane, you'll see that Sutton SignWriting has 4 rows set aside awaiting a proposal.  These 4 rows represent 1024 characters.  With the new encoding, I can create a proposal that requires 5 rows.  Much more reasonable that an entire plane.
> http://www.unicode.org/roadmaps/smp/
> 
> Sorry to any and all programmers / users this will inconvenience, but it is a needed change.
> 
> Regards,
> -Steve
>