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   In thumbing through a Web book I came across a reference to an html
   entity reference for a macron (&macr) next door to entity
   references that I'm familiar with, and it seemed to have a code number
   of #175 or something like that.
 
Yes, that's the symbol for the macro accent itself, just the line, with
no character underneath it. This could be for use in systems where
floating accents are used.
 
   So at some level it exists, but when I tried to do use it on Netscape or
   Oracle Browser it didn't work.
 
It will give you the accent symbol alone. No browser I know will
combine it with an alpha char to make an accented character (perhaps
Panorama might, I haven't tried that).
 
   I don't know much about the semantics of this, but in a general way,
   overbars have been the most widely used symbols to denote long vowels:
   you run into them in books all the time, and they have the advantage of
   not being tied to a particular language. So I'd probably use it if it
   worked.  but it doesn't.
 
That's because the makers of Web browsers are more concerned to do the
fun stuff like blinking coloured lights and animations than boring old
accents :-)
 
When the HTML-to-print routine I'm working on in the garage finally
sees the light of day, it will indeed honour these things and make
letters with macrons over them.
 
///Peter