attaching "metadata" to a single character

Josh Mellicker josh at
Thu Sep 21 13:37:31 EDT 2006

I have a text field, with blocks of text deliniated with the "\"  

I am trying to figure out the best way to attach "metadata" to this  

The first thing I thought of is that I could alter the color of the  
character, that would give me three data values up to 255 each (which  
would probably be enough, but might look weird). I could use the  
"blue" value to point to a separate numbered group of data with  
multiple fields, for example, but this complicates the overall  
scheme, perhaps needlessly.

I can't use the position of the character or the order of the  
delimiters as an absolute, because the user will be typing and  
deleting in the field, copying and pasting sections of the text, so  
each "\" character will be moved around quite a bit, but I need it to  
retain special info.

I need the character to be visible so the user doesn't accidentally  
highlight a section, cut it and paste it elsewhere without grabbing  
the "\" character.

I might go the direction of experimenting with the htmlText of the  
field, to see if I can put custom tags in without affecting the  
display, and see if the tags care copied and pasted properly... but  
I'm not sure what dangers might arise if I mess with the htmlText too  

I need something like custom properties of a single character...


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