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Technical Notes

Well Behaved ASCII Files

Smart Characters documents are saved as Ascii files, and can edited by a text editor (e.g., DOS Edit) that uses a font that displays the full extended Ascii code space (e.g., DOS code page(D- - 2) 437, see Ascii Chart(5- 5)). Using such an editor, English text objects(4- 1) are readily recognizable, but other objects do not display as they do in Smart Characters. Instead, you see the codes and text characters that make them up. " " becomes: " " "_wooden horse_mhä"_f[è[[onesuperior]]__t[_turned over_2[[eth]]‚_pwe."

Special Codes Are Easily Viewable

Smart Characters applies formatting using format codes(D- - 3) that can be examined within Smart Characters by using the Show Codes(3- 8) command, Ascii Only display mode(3- 7), or by a DOS text editor.

How Smart Characters Represents Characters

Smart Characters represents and saves a character not by saving the character images themselves (which would require enormous amounts of memory and storage), but rather by storing a number that refers to the character.

How a Character Number Is Stored

A character number(D- - 2) is stored in a document in one of two ways: binary code(D- - 1) for economy of size, and an absolute Ascii code(D- - 1) for extended ranges and keyboard input.

Document Header

Each Smart Characters file has, in the first few lines, a document header(12- 8) which tells which version(D- - 8) of Smart Characters was used to make the file, the default format codes(D- - 3), and which font families, symbol sets(D- - 7), and typefaces(4- 11) are used. The header contains global display mode(3- 7) codes as well.

Document Size is Larger

In order to preserve all of the context that is present when you type, Smart Characters saves as many of your keystrokes as possible, and does not encode or otherwise diminish them in a way that would lose their context. This makes for a more complex document structure, yielding a benefit for those who need the original context (such as language students or non-native speakers) for ease of understanding. One result of all of this additional information is that one Chinese character can require many additional bytes, which makes documents somewhat larger than with ordinary word processors.

You can delete these additional characters if you must, but first consider that others not as fluent as you may wish to use all or parts of the documents that you write, and they might greatly appreciate the annotations.

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Last Modified: March 23, 1996

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