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SaintDanBert 01-26-2011 11:03 AM

HOWTO: enter "special character" while typing
I have routine need to enter characters with diacritical marks
-- acute (apostrophe over) and grave (back tick over) accent, umlaut (two dots over), etc. -- in applications, databases and on the web. It is mostly proper names of people and places so I do not need a full multi-national keyboard or similar. I know that I can copy and paste using the character map accessory application.

How do I configure keyboard chords or other typing so that I can easily enter these occasional character decorations?

I have heard about using a compose key but I have yet to make this work on Ubuntu Lucid with Gnome.

Merci d'avance,
~~~ 0;-Dan

SaintDanBert 01-26-2011 11:11 AM

... same issue, another view
Since this thread speaks of "special characters" I'm asking this question here...
... but it might deserve its own thread.
When I enter special characters into a web application (database?) they are routinely mangled when I retrieve them again. The strings look fine at the time of data entry and so the changes happen (1) during database store and retrieve, or (2) during transmission to and from the database server.

Can someone explain (direct me to reading) how to configure a web application and the supporting client browsers so that special characters are visible on screen and get properly stored and retrieved?

Specifically, I want to process acute and grave accents, umlauts, cedilla, and similar (words from French, German, Spanish, &c) on both upper and lower case letters.

Merci d'avance,
~~~ 0;-Dan

SaintDanBert 01-26-2011 12:30 PM

I found this page:
With the default settings <Right ALT> and <SHIFT>+<Right ALT> I get a few
special characters to work but cannot seem to use the alternate levels of
character input.

Some specific examples that work: (Hurray!!)
<SHIFT>+<Right ALT> then <SHIFT>+"e" then apostrophe ==> capital-E with acute accent
<SHIFT>+<Right ALT> then apostrophe then "e" ==> lower-e with acute accent
<SHIFT>+<Right ALT> then <SHIFT>+"u" then double-quote ==> capital-U with umlaut
<SHIFT>+<Right ALT> then double-quote then "U" ==> lower-e with umlaut

There are lots of others that I cannot get to work. I suspect that I simply do not know
which characters to use for the desired result. For example, I expected to combine
the letter-c with the letter-n to get a cidilla (small hook beneath) the letter-n.
Instead I got a small letter-v (inverted circumflex) over the letter-n.
[indent]NOTE -- This stuff is really hard to post about because I have little faith that the site content manager (database) will properly store and retrieve the various "special characters". I've had that problem even though sites claim to use UTF-8 or UTF-16 character sets. There must be some other detail(s) needed to guarantee that special characters work round trip.[/indnet]

There are other characters -- the German double-s that looks like a capital-B, single-character fractions, merged capital-A+capital-E, paragraph mark, double-<, double-> and so on -- that I cannot get to appear at all.

I'd expect that somewhere there are tables or configuration for all of this. The whole magilla must be pretty complex given:
  • hardware keypress to kernel driver (is that "scancode"?)
  • kernel drive to X11 input (is that "key code"?)
  • X11 input through application storage
  • application storage through X11 output to display
  • display character cell or bitmap representation
... (grin) if you could only find the doc files.

Merci d'avance,
~~~ 0;-Dan

SaintDanBert 01-26-2011 12:36 PM

... self-fulfilling "prophesy"

... if you can only find the doc files
I found this page:

That lists the various Compose Keys as of 8-SEP-2007. That is an epoch ago in internet time.

Does anyone know how I confirm that this list is still valid on my system(s)?

Update: I found this text at the end of a document, previously overlooked in other pages mentioned here.
<Multi_Key> is the Compose (Shift+AltGr) key
To create your own set of compose keys copy the file /usr/share/X11/locale/en_US.UTF-8/Compose (or if you prefer the equivalent file for your locale) to your home directory as .XCompose

  # cp /usr/share/X11/locale/en_US.UTF-8/Compose ~/.XCompose
and edit this file.

My Ubuntu Lucid workstations all have the 'Compose' file mentioned.
It has all sorts of contents (three parts) most of which I don't understand. (grin)

Merci d'avance,
~~~ 0;-Dan

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