Want more Unicode sub/superscripts? Need volunteer font designers

One of the nice little things about Julia programming has been the broad support for Unicode identifiers — variables like α̂₂′ and operators like . However, a common source of frustration is the paucity of available subscripts and superscripts — there is no superscript “q” or subscript “A”, much less superscript “*” or “†”, in Unicode.

On the back burner for a few years now, a few of us have been bouncing around the idea of proposing that Unicode expand its set of subscripts and superscripts by adding new “mathematical sub/superscript” combining characters. See our draft proposal here, which is now nearing the the point of formal submission: https://github.com/stevengj/subsuper-proposal

One sticking point is that proposals are required to include the name and contact information for a company or individual who would agree to provide a computerized font (True Type or PostScript) for publication of the standard. Can we crowdsource this?

Basically, we need to find volunteers with font-design experience, who, if the proposal is accepted, will create font with the needed characters. In principle, this is as simple as taking a free font like DejaVu Sans Mono, making sub/superscript versions of 100–150 common mathematical glyphs (Latin and Greek characters and a few other symbols), and then adding ligatures so that the new glyphs are used when the corresponding character+combining-character combination is encountered.

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I believe @cormullion has mentioned in the past an interest in prototyping this in julia mono’s private use area.

I’ve already contributed to that repository.

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In general for activities like this, i’d recommend to use the UFO format https://unifiedfontobject.org/ and tool chains like https://github.com/googlefonts/ufo2ft

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