Typing Into The Wiki

OK, a little here on my experiences of trying to type APL characters into this Wiki.

I followed Kai's instructions at SpecialCharacters but I had a few problems.

I used both Firefox & IE6, but the Unicode characters didn't all display properly. Time, assignment, etc. were ok, but, for example omega came out as "?" in Firefox & as a "block" or quad in IE. Simply installing the APL385 Unicode font fixed that.

Note if for some reason you don't want to install the APL font permanently there are two alternatives: you can use the font viewer in Windows to examine a font before you install it & this loads the font into memory which makes it available for other applications to use as long as the font is viewed, then it can be used by anything; alternatively, if that seems a bit of a kludge to you, or you can't open the font viewer, there is a portable tool NexusFont which, in effect, does the same job, but without needing any privileges to do so.

I didn't have Dyalog 11 installed on the machine I started with - actually I didn't have any APL installed - I often use Dyalog 9 on a USB memory stick. It doesn't need any registry entries & with my fonts trick I can be completely mobile - just plug in the USB drive & APL is up and running.

Also, being a mono-linguistic Englishman I'd never touched the language settings, except to disable the American keyboard settings as that changes the keyboard layout to American - just enough characters to throw a British user (for example: #, which the English call hash & the Americans pound is moved to where on a British keyboard one who have £). The flip occurs on some keystroke, which I have forgotten since it is, thankfully, a long time since I let it catch me in this way.

I took a while to persuade Windows XP professional to turn on the language bar, I had to actually install a second language, then I could activate the bar & get an item on the Toolbar. Fortunately my daughter is doing a Spanish GCSE, so adding that proved useful to her, if not to me.

Of course, it didn't offer me APL as a possible language. I installed a copy of Dyalog 11 & that includes its own IME. I tried to be clever & see what would happen if I removed the additional language once I'd got it all set up & the Language bar obligingly vanished, even though Dyalog APL is now an option in the keyboard settings in Regions & Languages.

Kai has pointed out to me To make the language bar appear is easy as soon as you know how: Right-click on the task bar and select "Toolbars > Language bar" from the context menu - there it is. - sadly without a second language installed the Language bar is not offered as an option, but I've enabled a key sequence to switch between APL & English keyboard, which seems to be OK.

Given the number of American & English APLers who have probably never used a national keyboard setting & therefore haven't used an IME or anything like it I'm going to refine this article, so that it reads more fluently & details all the steps I took to get things working. I know of a few people who might not realize that the facilities for non-English Windows users even exist & I'd rather they blamed Bill Gates than grumble about the wiki.

I'm also going to see if I can get an IME of some kind working on a machine with no Dyalog installed, so those folks using another flavour of APL can contribute to the Wiki & I can go back to being as portable as I can be. Though quite how I'm going to do it, I've no idea...

Given later versions of Dyalog use Unicode, APL/X can export and I've just seen on http://unicode.org/ that APL2 is a recognised Unicode IDE (why isn't Dyalog on that page?) am i being old fashioned?

I do have a somewhat RoundaboutWayOfEnteringUnicode

Author: ChrisHogan

TypingIntoTheWiki (last edited 2010-07-21 07:55:00 by KaiJaeger)