CRITERIA -- ASCII
It has been admitted publicly, and in print by Computerworld and
U.S. NIST, that existence of ASCII was a sine qua non for
subsequent existence of the Internet and the Worldwide Web.
Bob Bemer saw the need early for computers to talk to each other
via interchange media, and publicized his studies of the
roadblocks of that time, within and without IBM. After
persuading IBM of the need to support such standards, he wrote
this goal and program of work, subsequently adopted by all of the
national and international standards committees:
"To develop a single standard for logical representation of
characters and character format in the media used for interchange
of instruction, data, and control information between data
processing equipments, together with orderly provision for
expansion and alternatives..."
He personally contributed 11 quite important characters of the
7-bit ASCII subset, including escape, backslash, brackets, curly
braces, and the four information separators. The final form of
ASCII differed not greatly from his basic and original
He moreover maneuvered the development work to be done on an
international basis, ensuring the cooperation and support of all
A Google search on "Father of ASCII" will show over 80 sites with
that content, all pointing to Bob Bemer as the only person so
see ( ASCII.HTM )
CITATION -- ASCII
see ( BRACES.HTM )
For technical, administrative, publication, and publicity efforts
leading to the creation and adoption of ASCII, the world's
universal and basic character set, on an international scale,
resulting in his sobriquet "Father of ASCII".
CRITERIA -- ESCAPE SEQUENCE
In 1961, Bemer invented a never-before-existent character,
"escape", which, when followed by a preassigned group of other
characters, an "escape sequence", would change attributes and
meanings for all subsequent characters until another such escape
sequence was encountered. Originally this was the most important
lure to getting the ASCII code adopted for interchange purposes,
because manufacturers could assign an escape sequence to their
existing internal codes, and continue to operate with their
programs and databases intact until an easy and full transition
could be made.
Later, after video screens came into use, "escape sequences" were
assigned to change the display attributes -- foreground and
background colors, font styles, size, shape, and weight,
alphabets of the world's languages, and cursor positioning. Much
the same sequences were used to control laser printers.
Escape sequences are vital to the mechanics of
HTML, and to the "orderly provision for expansion
and alternatives" of his original program-of-work
Today, when patent litigation has become the
scourge of further Web development, it is nice
to remember that Bob Bemer had this significant
innovation assigned to the public domain.
see ( ESCAPE.HTM )
CITATION -- ESCAPE SEQUENCE
For inventing "escape", the unseen but perhaps
whe most often used character in the world,
outranking any such as "etaoin shrdlu"
CRITERIA -- REGISTRATION OF CHARACTER SETS
From the beginning of his interest in standard encoding methods,
Bob Bemer saw the problem not as creating a single standard code,
but as having a basic code and system from which the multitude of
graphic symbols in the world could be encoded in groupings
reached by temporary departure from the base system. He
envisioned alternate coding tables, which could be invoked
dynamically as identified by an
"identifier self-identifiable as an identifier"
Thus the genesis of the "escape" character. Like the "Now hear
this" on a Navy ship, followed by a message to be obeyed,
"escape" fits the "orderly provision for expansion and
alternatives" clause of his original program-of-work
Not all escape sequences invoke a different set of characters.
Escape followed by "[A" moves the cursor right one position.
Rules must exist for identifying the end character of a
sequence. So how do we know if such a group of characters is
legal or not? Simple, we look it up in a list known as the
"International Register of Coded Character Sets to be used with
Escape Sequences", ISO/IEC 2022.
The Registration Authority, formerly ECMA, is the Information
Processing Society of Japan, and you can see the nearly 200
see ( http://www.itscj.ipsj.or.jp/ )
To understand the workings, imagine a book with many pages of a 8
x 8 table (for the 256 possible combinations of 8 bits as 0 or
1). The pages are identified, not by serial numbers, but by
escape sequences. The first page shows the ASCII code. Others
show variants related to ASCII, keeping some characters in the
same positions, replacing the Roman alphabet with the alphabets
of other languages such as Japanese Kata Kana, Cyrillic, Arabic,
Braille, Bliss symbols, and German.
Other pages show symbol groups for various disciplines such as
welding, astronomy, national flags, astrology, architecture,
control of sewing machine movement, computer design, and
semaphore. Granted that such groups are not yet registered, they
can and will be, and that is something that UNICODE is not
equipped to do.
Insert the Cyrillic identifier <esc>(N in the text stream,
and from then on you're working in Russian, with both your video
screen and laser printer similarly adapted. Many people have
made analogy to the physical changing of the typing element on
Bob Bemer started to goad the standards bodies to adopt his
registration plan in mid-1962. 14(!) years later the method was
adopted by ISO, the registry procedures put in place. Finally
they understood, but last of all by the United States.
see ( REGISTRY.HTM )
Now that they have capitulated, with all of the components
working as advertised, you'd think it was always the way to go,
so the Worldwide Web could truly function worldwide, for all
languages and all disciplines!
CITATION - REGISTRATION OF CHARACTER SETS
For his concept of formal registry of alternate ASCII-related
character sets, with escape sequences assigned for permanent
identification. And for forcing the U.S. to agree to the entire
world's demands and needs for variants and other symbols.