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Character/message counter and encoding choice for text messages (SMS) [released]

asked 2013-12-25 18:08:22 +0300

DaTa gravatar image

updated 2016-09-07 23:28:23 +0300

misc11 gravatar image

Character and message counter

It would be nice for people like me who use prepaid cards to have a small character and message counter displayed continuously (as on this good old Symbian) when writing an SMS message. This way we know what we will pay for it. It is really something useful, if not mandatory.

Update: still not implemented in v1.1.7.24

Update: still not implemented in v1.1.9.28

Update: still not implemented in v2.0.0.10

Update: still not implemented in v2.0.1.11

Update: character counter released in v2.0.2.51

Text message encoding

It would be also nice to be able to force the encoding of any SMS sent (not Facebook/GTalk messages, only for SMSes) as it was done in good old days - for instance if a non-supported character (let it be 'ê') is encountered, replace it by a simpler one that is supported (here 'e' for the example). It is indeed very frustrating to not be able to know that we are restricted to 70 characters by message instead of 160 for the same price (this issue is linked to the problem stated above, about character and message counting). It was done in the past, why not anymore now just because we have full keyboards?

Thanks !

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The question has been closed for the following reason "released in a software update" by atlochowski
close date 2016-09-08 00:52:50.015031



Hi, I would separate this into three different questions (character counter, SMS counter, SMS encoding), so that commenting and voting them would be easier and more effective. Maybe the the secondo issue (SMS counter) could be merged with https://together.jolla.com/question/12124/counters-for-sms-and-calls-needed/

I've taken the liberty to add the feature-request tag.

IZ1IVA ( 2014-02-05 10:41:17 +0300 )edit

Yes, character (and message) counter would be nice.

Deonith ( 2014-02-07 13:04:15 +0300 )edit

Preferably the counter is made in the countdown style of Symbian Belle. Please?

vattuvarg ( 2014-02-09 21:34:40 +0300 )edit

It's really tricky to vote on this feature-request, as there are multiple suggestions in the "question", so I added some wiki-"answers".

@DaTa - please edit my "answers" (they are wiki-answers) if they are not what you intended.
I'm a bit unsure if my phrasing (especially the "Text message encoding (SMS)" one) is clear.

@IZ1IVA - I'm a bit unsure if DaTa meant "SMS's sent, all in all", as the "Counters for SMS and calls needed" question is asking for, or "just the numbers of SMS's needed in the present message". Those two things are somewhat similar, but different.

phle ( 2014-02-09 22:07:49 +0300 )edit

It was the second choice: the counting during the sms writing :) Thank you for the answers, these are what I meant :) Hope they will be both taken into account...

DaTa ( 2014-02-09 22:28:12 +0300 )edit

5 Answers

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answered 2014-02-09 21:58:08 +0300

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updated 2014-04-17 23:59:06 +0300

phle gravatar image

This answer is a wiki, and will not generate karma. Please vote up on this "answer" if you support this suggestion.

SMS character count

Show the number of characters left (one SMS is 160 characters).

  • If the text written will result in more than one SMS being sent
    (concatenated SMS / multipart/segmented SMS / "long SMS"),
    then also show the number of SMS's needed.

Nokia N9 Messages - SMS multi-messaging

  • If any of the characters used will "take up more than one character" (example: accented characters), this should be "counted for" as well.

Nokia N9 Messages - Chinese

((huge, sorry) example images added (screenshots from my retired Nokia N9), after viewing "Messaging is missing the character/letter count")

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I still miss N9 keyboard elegance

aarengu ( 2014-12-06 15:32:42 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-02-09 22:05:06 +0300

this post is marked as community wiki

This post is a wiki. Anyone with karma >75 is welcome to improve it.

updated 2014-02-09 22:20:28 +0300

phle gravatar image

This answer is a wiki, and will not generate karma. Please vote up on this "answer" if you support this suggestion.

Text message encoding (SMS)

Option to "force use of simpler characters", to avoid having to be restricted to (for example) just 70 characters for one SMS, instead of the default 160 characters for one SMS.

If a "non-supported" character is encountered, replace it by a "simpler" one.
example: ê → e

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answered 2015-10-21 13:59:21 +0300

pichlo gravatar image

updated 2015-10-30 16:40:45 +0300



See the link above.

The theory

The SMS specification allows 3 types of character encoding, each resulting in a different maximum allowed number of characters per message: 7-bit (160 characters), 8-bit (140 characters) or 16-bit (70 characters).

Some characters (e.g. the tilde '~', pipe '|' or Euro sign '€') require an escape character and are therefore counted as two 7-bit characters. 8-bit characters are used in some special national implementations. Also, the shift table for 7-bit characters is locale specific. See this link for more info.

Known issues

This patch does not recognize the national variations and assumes only the basic shift table for 7-bit characters.

A practical implication may be that some characters are not recognized as belonging to the extended 7-bit set and will be treated as full Unicode characters - i.e., the counter will assume a limit of 70 characters per message rather than 140 or 160. At least it errs on the side of caution.

Please let me know if you find any problems or inconsistencies by replying to this post and I will try to fix it in the next update.

Also, I would welcome an official input from Jolla on how the character sets are treated in Messages so I do not need to make assumptions.

image description

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Nice! This was on my to-do list. Now I can check that of. ;)

Mohjive ( 2015-10-21 14:20:32 +0300 )edit

Can we have it under "Send"?

AliN ( 2015-10-21 22:52:53 +0300 )edit

Everything is possible. I considered that too, but given the choice of replacing the message type or the time with the count, I chose the less important one.

pichlo ( 2015-10-21 23:17:23 +0300 )edit

Yeah, you're right. What about across the clock? I mean below the line on the right side.

AliN ( 2015-10-22 02:06:43 +0300 )edit

Sorry if I did not make myself clear. The screenshot probably did not help either. The place you suggest has the message type (SMS, MMS, chat) when there is an actual recipient filled in. Where it says Send in the screenshot it says Change type before you start typing. Have a look, try a few new messages and a few replies and see what I mean.

pichlo ( 2015-10-22 02:32:53 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-11-25 17:35:28 +0300

nthn gravatar image

I don't really understand why this hasn't been implemented yet, it's quite frustrating to notice you sent two messages when you were only 1 character over 160, especially when you're not on an unlimited SMS subscription.

I wonder if there would be a way to implement this through patchmanager, if so, I and at least 134 other people would very much appreciate that!

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answered 2015-12-08 13:37:56 +0300

There was a pull request in Mer from Jolla two weeks ago, that adds the SMS character counter machinery to the Nemo plugin for messages : https://git.merproject.org/mer-core/nemo-qml-plugin-messages/merge_requests/2

Of course, this is in the open-source part of the messaging application, we don't know about the closed-source UI part. They may be inspired by the nice layout of pichlo !

Good news anyway, thanks sailors…

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Thank you @Damien Caliste but it would be unfair of me to claim full credit. The "chars left (msgs used)" format has been around since the dawn of time and the central placement has been inspired by the best of the best, Nokia N900 :)

pichlo ( 2015-12-08 17:47:26 +0300 )edit

I've had a look through the pull request. It is very good overall, including the unit tests but it seems to suffer the same problem as my patch. Namely that it defines its own character table instead of reusing the one used by the Jolla's Messages app.

As explained in this link, there are national variants to shift tables - a complicated sounding concept that simply means, "when a characters such as á is found in the message, will it take 2 positions from the standard 160 char limit or will the entire message have to be endoded in Unicode with only 70 chars limit?"

Only the Messages app itself knows the real answer. Both my patch and this pull request make some assumptions that are most probably correct but may not be. Fortunately for the user, both err on the side of caution.

EDIT: I see there is some scaffolding for future expansion so I take back that comment :)

pichlo ( 2015-12-09 16:47:19 +0300 )edit

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Asked: 2013-12-25 18:08:22 +0300

Seen: 5,991 times

Last updated: Sep 07 '16