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Character Identifier


This essay does not describe an existing computer program, just one that should exist. This essay is about a suggested student project in Java programming. This essay gives a rough overview of how it might work. I have no source, object, specifications, file layouts or anything else useful to implementing this project. Everything I have prepared to help you is right here.

This project outline is not like the artificial, tidy little problems you are spoon-fed in school, when all the facts you need are included, nothing extraneous is mentioned, the answer is fully specified, along with hints to nudge you toward a single expected canonical solution. This project is much more like the real world of messy problems where it is up to you to fully the define the end point, or a series of ever more difficult versions of this project and research the information yourself to solve them.

Everything I have to say to help you with this project is written below. I am not prepared to help you implement it; or give you any additional materials. I have too many other projects of my own.

Though I am a programmer by profession, I don’t do people’s homework for them. That just robs them of an education.

You have my full permission to implement this project in any way you please and to keep all the profits from your endeavour.

Please do not email me about this project without reading the disclaimer above.

This is a very easy project that could be implemented as an Applet and offered to the world on the net. Imagine you see a peculiar character such as the wrapped present icon — 🎁 or a letter that might be 0 (zero) or O (capital O), you can’t tell with that font. You copy and paste the character into this new app. It then it:

Then you know what the character is, what it is for and how to use it in your HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) and Java programs.

You can cannibalise nearly all the Java code you need from Quoter and Entities. The Entities package contains a table called entityfacts.csv which gives you most of the printable characters, their codes, entities and descriptions. You can get the remainder from the Unicode consortium. Your Applet would contain a serialized, gzipped, pruned version of that merged table as a resource. You can generate the hex and decimal entities on the fly. They do not have to be embedded in the resource. Don’t forget to handle 32-bit Unicode code-points. You could allow the user to paste more than one character then select the one of interest.

complete list of Unicode character names
mystery wrapped-present character
Unicode Code Chart: arranged alphabetically

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