Emoji support

There is an emerging standard for entering emoji characters in text.

Dave Winer’s Scripting News RSS is using these. An example entry has :sunny: at the end of it.

It would be great if these could be displayed correctly as icons in NewsBlur.

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Hi Tom,

I just want to point out that your links for “standard” and “entering” are actually two entirely different things. The “standard” link points to Unicode emoji support which because NewsBlur seems to support Unicode everywhere I’ve tried to use it/expect to see in NewsBlur (yay!) so those emoji “just work” today. [I thought I had at least one example in my blurblog where I used one in a comment, but didn’t find one in a quick skim.] To type one of these Unicode things right now you likely either need to play with character map a bit, know the keyboard shortcut to punch out the Unicode numbers, or use a mobile device as most of them increasingly have keyboards for it. (Because its what all the kids these day be texting with, yo.) You may also need an updated font or two to see them correctly, but your operating system is likely already bundling a font with those glyphs or about to. (For example: Windows 8.1.1 / Windows Phone 8.1 have a color font for Unicode emoji.)

It’s great to see it in Unicode, as Unicode can (and should!) work just about anywhere and your OS can put all the cool work into figuring out useful ways for people to enter them everywhere they might want to use them. (Windows Phone 8.1 now auto-suggests emoji as you type, which is rather fun and my usage therefore has risen dramatically.)

The other thing, including your examples of colon-surrounded names isn’t so much a standard as it is a somewhat common set of emoji called Phantom Open Emoji and a common set of libraries (most commonly the Ruby emoji gem, as Ruby-based sites are the most likely place you see them). POE doesn’t exactly align with the Unicode emoji standard and the colon-surrounded names are very specific to the POE set (and thus not standardized at all, except in that they are in an Open Source repository).

It may just be me, and I’m not sure if my opinion matters all that much here, but I don’t know if it makes sense for NewsBlur to support the POE and its colon names. Although you see it on a bunch of sites, particularly tech sites due to the influence of GitHub, it doesn’t really feel like a standard to me. Unicode is a standard and it is supported. POE is strange and rare and maybe not worth the effort?

EDIT: Hah, looks like Get Satisfaction does not support Unicode. How funny.


You are right about the “standard”. It would be better if the colon-delimited emoji aligned with Unicode.

As the colon-delimited emoji is essentially part of a markup language, the RSS creating software should probably output the correct Unicode, rather than relying on every feed reader and displayer to support it correctly. RSS readers / displayers do have to deal with HTML entities already though.

I’d like the easy way of entering emoji to be more widespread (I find unicode entry is hard; things like html entities make life a little easier). NewsBlur supporting the translation of colon-delimited emoji into icons would be great.

Amusing that GetSatisfaction doesn’t do Unicode. A feature request, methinks?

I think the publisher should be responsible for transferring text emoji to real emoji. NewsBlur happily displays what the publisher tells it to. I’ve seen a number of forum feeds change :smile: to a different smile.png, which would be preferable in this case. The publisher owns the text, so it’s up to them.

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Yeah, and as for inputting them: The fun part of them being in the Unicode is that its now something of the operating system’s job to make that easy (for instance Hanselman just coincidentally posted on the subject: http://www.hanselman.com/blog/HowToEn…). It might make for a neat browser plugin to support translating things like the colon names to Unicode, but I leave that as an exercise to the reader.