keyboards and touch

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keyboards and touch

Steve Wart
I was reading about Scala this week and noticed that the grammar
explicitly supports unicode glyphs for certain tokens, in particular
← (Unicode \u2190) is the same as <- and ⇒ (Unicode \u21D2) is the
same as =>. Other languages are doing this too, but there are some
issues with doing this.

On US keyboards non-ASCII characters are a hassle to type, but with
touch devices, the keyboards are all defined in software anyhow, so
even the APL character set is finally open to consideration.

In Smalltalk one could hack the compiler to support these symbols, but
I'm not so sure about Lively. But I'm thinking about more than just
compiler tokens, this opens up all sorts of geeky math possibilities
for end users and programmers.

Unfortunately my imagination is so far limited to applications like
domain-specific or localized programming languages. Most programs are
written using the Latin character set these days, but there's no good
reason not to tokenize Chinese text or anything else for that matter.

Touch devices are generally considered to be "content consumption"
devices rather than development environments but Lively could change
that. The question is how much of this is possible in a
Javascript-based environment.