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Unicode Demystified by Richard Gillam

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The Principle of Unification

The bottom-line philosophy you should draw from the discussions on the character–glyph model and on character positioning is that Unicode encodes semantics, not appearances. In fact, the Unicode standard specifically states that the pictures of the characters in the code charts are for illustrative purposes only—the pictures of the characters are intended to help clarify the meaning of the character code, not to specify the appearance of the character having that code.

The philosophy that Unicode encodes semantics and not appearances also undergirds the principle that Unicode is a plain-text encoding, which we discussed in Chapter 1. The fact that an Arabic letter looks different depending on the letters around it ...

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