Information Builders' new product line WebFOCUS provides Web functionality for the company's EDA client-server architecture. This presentation is about a key Unicode aspect of WebFOCUS, a Java applet for support of legacy code pages. The paper covers design, actual implementation, and optimization for performance, and concludes with a general strategy for tackling these kinds of projects.

Information Builders' core client-server RDBMS architecture uses IBM mainframe, UNIX, and Windows NT hub servers to access a wide variety of legacy data types and SBCS/DBCS code pages.

Moving this technology to the Web world required writing a Java applet for client browsers. The heart of the applet is a transcoding service that converts legacy code page values to and from Unicode. The service was originally intended to support specific DBCS encodings. However, it was then optimized for performance, and made extensible to any other code page family or Unicode range (script).

We will describe the design of the Java applet and transcoding service. We will review a few of JDK 1.1.x coding problems we encountered, including interfacing with a third-party graphics support utility used by WebFOCUS. We will show how we optimized the applet for performance, and modularized its feature for extensibility.

We conclude with checklists on things to watch, and suggestions on how to best undertake this kind of project.

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24 January 1999, Webmaster