Unicode in Distributed Environments

Michael McKenna - Sybase, Inc.

Intended Audience: Manager, Software Engineer, Systems Analyst, Marketer, Systems Integrator
Session Level: Beginner

Standards are finally becoming consistent with the desired level of internationalization for distributed computing. But most implementations do a poor job of providing intuitive solutions for heterogeneous multinational interconnectivity. Current research and the directions being taken by international and industry standards bodies are addressing the problems of global systems. They are either seriously investigating or have already adopted Unicode.

Unicode is a potential solution for most of the current problems in global distributed systems development and management. Many common distributed applications can benefit from Unicode now. There are several methods for implementing robust global distributed systems using Unicode within the framework of existing standards for distributed computing.

This tutorial begins with an overview of current conditions:

  • a model for Internationalization Levels of Compliance in distributed computing;
  • a review of distributed layers of computing, with specific emphasis on:
    - communication protocols commonly in use
    - software langauges commonly in use
    - application development environments for distributed systems
  • an evaluation of the standards that apply to these layers; and assesses how Unicode can be or is being used in distributed computing and the benefits from doing so.

Phases of implementing Unicode use are identified:

  • Encapsulated Unicode;
  • Unicode on the wire;
  • Unicode end-to-end

New, Unicode-enabled technologies will be discussed as to their role in helping legacy enterprises solve their global issues. Specifically, Java, and XML will be looked at from a systems-level view as tools for portability and universal data transmission. The Internet and the WWW will be inspected briefly, with respect to Unicode, as to their role in globalizing user interfaces and increasing application and data accessibility.

Various Unicode-based implementations will be discussed as case-studies for how different organizations have adopted Unicode to solve their distributed application and communication problems.

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31 October 1999, Webmaster