Description of the implementation of a new character - the euro sign - in existing IT systems.

Description of Paper

Defining the euro in Unicode and other international standards was only the first step on the long road towards the general availability of this new character on keyboards, screens and printed papers in the IT systems of the European institutions. Apart from more organisational questions to be answered, such as finding a prominent yet non-conflicting euro keycap position, a tremendous number of technical problems have had to be tackled and solved by the institutions, especially by the European Commission and its Informatics Directorate. Despite the fact that most of the institution's IT systems are built on the Unicode-based Windows NT, the implementation of the euro has revealed that Unicode is not yet spoken everywhere, in particular when going to the fringes of NT: Printer driver specialities, font extensions, code page conversion, legacy application support and data exchange are only a few areas where solutions have had to be found in order to actually make the euro available.


The electronic birth of the euro is a unique chance for software engineers, analysts and IT managers alike to learn about the implications, problems and solutions of integrating a brand new character into an existing working environment.

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26 January 1999, Webmaster