Actually John, Germans pioneered the use of all-lowercase text, a style which is becoming increasingly used in all kinds of general media perused by a wider selection of the population than the "concrete poets, avant-gardists, teenagers and wankers".
Here's an example, both inserts in the Thursday paper. The similarities of colour scheme, circular devices, and lower-case sans serif made me wonder if it was the same company or same agency, but probably just the style du jour.
John: "...what they don’t want is all-lowercase text."
Agreed, and it's why I always say, the caps, are the default case. So why is it so easy to say 'they' want all uppercase figures? with the bottom line being, if it ain't in unicode, it's being phased out. Your and Adam's, (and my) names for our precious glyphs, are helping the phase-out process. Future apps are going to have to track down the meaning of glyphs, with only the feature tables to guide them, I guess...
"But it seems very obvious to me that there are two perfectly legitimate ways in which to analyse numeral styles..."
Don't be confused by the many wonderful 'tweeners of some kind. These 'tween numbers were, and are often, compromises or following compromises, to a fashion statement of 'numerical superiority' and little else. Or maybe 'the one legitimate way' to analyze numeral styles's, from the user out. Users, want one kind with uppercase, another kind with lowercase, and sometimes, they want figures being for themselves and not another case. These narrowed, tabular figures, are what most users get barfed on their documents for all cases. There are uppercase figures, lowercase figures, and figure figures, and 'we' should pull together on that, and get it to being the 'established typographic fact' it is, so that developers can develop to it, and not the confusing Nick/Indesign interface, no offence intended.
Nick: Germans pioneered the use of all-lowercase text, a style which is becoming increasingly used in all kinds of general media perused by a wider selection of the population than the “concrete poets, avant-gardists, teenagers and wankers”.
I don't necessarily exclude the designers of tomorrow morning's recycling from the category of wankers. The flood of this stuff now washes over consciousness so quickly that individually it doesn't even constitute 'ephemera' anymore; the air has more substance.
What graphic designers do to make a desperate grab for the over-a-hurried-breakfast attention of newspaper readers is entirely irrelevant to issues of character encoding. Once again: the Latin script is bicameral; the two cases are commonly used in such a way that the distinction carries semantics information; this semantic information should not be lost in plain text input, storage and interchange; ergo a plain text encoding standard needs to encode the case distinction. Numerals, on the other hand, are only stylistically bicameral, in that there is no independent semantic difference between a lining numeral and an oldstyle numeral; ergo, a plain text encoding standard does not need to encode the case distinction, any more than it needs to encode the distinction between roman and italic (and don't try citing math alphanumeric characters to me, because they do have distinct semantics in the orthography of mathematics, which is not the orthography of natural language).
John, once again, the issue I am raising is not what is right or wrong if one reduces the complexities to a bicameral duality, but what is useful to typographers.
From your ivory tower, you may wish to blow off marketing designers as a bunch of vaporous wankers, but they are the people who use the types we make.
All-lower-case setting is more widespread than in adland; perhaps it is just laziness (which is nonetheless a legitimate engine of change), but it may also signify something else.
The way it stands at the moment, if a designer receives text that is set in upper and lower case, and wishes to set it in all lower case style, the capitals will need re-keying. As a user interface issue, what do you think would be the best way to implement "all lower case"?
The way it stands at the moment, if a designer receives text that is set in upper and lower case, and wishes to set it in all lower case style, the capitals will need re-keying. As a user interface issue, what do you think would be the best way to implement “all lower case”?
Well, no, they wouldn't need re-keying, you just need software that does the case conversion - or you could use a script or something.
As for how one implements it in UI, it is a case conversion and should be in the same place as other case conversions in the UI. For example, in Adobe InDesign, it is under Type > Change Case > lowercase, right next to the UPPERCASE, Title Case and Sentence case options.
I think Nick is just setting a logical snare for John. I am sure he knows how to change case :-)
No, I didn't know you could do that in InDesign.
That's why I like Typophile, I'm always learning things.
There are also dozens of littlle text editors out there that can change case I use Tex-edit but there are a zillion others.
For example, in Adobe InDesign, it is under Type > Change Case > lowercase, right next to the UPPERCASE, Title Case and Sentence case options.
Which might be useful but also dangerous, since the change of case (and therefore semantics) is irreversible. A button similar to the "TT"-AllCaps would be desirable, which changes appearance without semantics.
I agree that a full set of formatting options for various cases would be a "nice to have" feature.
As for case change being irreversible, well, sure. But you could say the same thing about search and replace. There are all sorts of text processing operations that change text.