Monday, April 4, 2011

Finding entities, characters, glyphs

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My latest "mini-project", a few hours in, solves the annoying problem of trying to remember entity numbers or names. For example, our last project used the entity » (»), and it seemed like it took me two years to remember it. Now, with this tool, I can just type ">>" and the character, symbol and number appear. I tried to make it "mobile friendly", and may experiment with packaging it as an "app".

I'm intrigued by "mini-projects"... something I can put together in a few minutes or hours and provide value to someone. It's a long-time obsession: in the 90s when I got my first laptop, I tested myself to see what I put together on my 22 minute BART ride from Oakland to 24th Street. It was fun, but I never creating anything of general interest.

Now, these little tools (and hacks) can be quicker to build out and easier to share. In fact, there are 1000s of "apps" out there, many of which look like they can be done in hours. Anyway, I have a few on my web site.

What makes things easier is there is so much data out there to build upon. As you'd expect, it takes the entity list of W3C. But I supplemented this with interesting Unicode characters, and a nice set from Remy Sharp.

Check it out, bookmark it, and please send me feedback.