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Since this is the first release I thought I'd give a little background on why I wrote it.
When I started working on Mi-Fi Monitor back in 2010, I quickly discovered that the API for those little devices spits out a string of key=value pairs separated by an invisible character (escape). I remember having to google “escape character” repeatedly so I could copy it into the clipboard.
That was not my first encounter with string encoding and parsing, but it was one of the first times I noticed how difficult it is to use characters that aren’t easily accessible from the keyboard, particularly the control characters which have no width or visible representation.
There are of couse ways for dealing with those invisible characters, in certain situations you can type \0 for null or \n for linefeed, but that doesn’t apply everywhere.
But ok, those are invisible control characters, nobody but a programmer should have to care about them anyway, right?
Right. I and most other programmers eventually pick up on those and remember the few that we need, problem solved…… if you only care about invisible ASCII control characters.
Now toss Unicode into the mix, with ~24,000 assigned codepoints. Any hope of even remembering the numbers so you can use them in one of the few places a Unicode escape sequence will work, goes right out the window.
What’s the Unicode escape sequence for the Euro currency symbol? Or any of the various musical note symbols? What about the Greek Omega? Or the Copyright symbol? Registered trademark?
Should programmers have to remember all these? Or just some? Should you even have to be a programmer or know what an escape sequence is to use them?
I don’t think you should, so I wrote Codepoints for Mac.
My goal with Codepoints was to make it easily accessible from anywhere on your Mac, very fast, and to make it disappear immediately once it is no longer needed.
As a result, Codepoints is a Menu Bar app that can be accessed at any time with a single click (or global keyboard shortcut).
Once the popup opens, you can search by typing immediately (no mouse work required), scroll the list using your mouse or arrow keys, and double click a row or select it and hit enter. This copies the character into your clipboard, closes Codepoints and returns focus to your previous application.
I've got some interesting things to add to Codepoints soon, and I plan to keep it in sync with the newest Unicode standard, which was 6.0 when Codepoints was submitted to the App Store but has since been updated to 6.1. An update should be due out soon with that.