A long while back I wrote a short series of posts on a small range of topics centered around the creation of characters, both modern an old. At the end of one such post, I mentioned that I had a solution to the problem, however I never got around to posting my solution, in part because I felt I couldn’t articulate the idea as completely as it seems to be in my head. Then a recent comment by 慈逢流 got me thinking an answer was fair. This post is my attempt to provide one.
The Problem: Limited Characters
There are a number of characters that have existed in traditional sources that simply cannot exist on computers today, at least not with any wide use. There are obscure characters like the rare family name ben 㡷, which is composed of 本 under 广. These are characters which are encoded in unicode, however unavailable at least on the device with which I am currently writing this post. That’s primarily a font issue, but it goes beyond that. A character exists, for example, composed 林, four times in a square format. Even if one were to create a font with this character, one would need to either have it replace another existing glyph, or assign it to a special use area and then do some fancy replacement string coding for it to be shown. Either solution is not really a solution. Font encoding as we currently know it is insufficient for the full range of Sinitic characters. Even if more glyphs were added to the Unicode standard, which is constantly being done, it is insufficient.