Net.Data and Unicode - Unicode Support in a Web Enablement Middleware System

Norbert Runge - IBM Corporation

Intended Audience: Software Engineer, Systems Analyst
Session Level: Intermediate

Net.Data from IBM Corp. is a middleware system for accessing heterogeneous data sources from a web browser. IBM recently added Unicode support to Net.Data, and the developers had to make some key decisions during design and implementation.

Net.Data typically receives a URL request from a web browser, processes a macro file as specified in the URL, retrieves data from external data sources and formats the retrieved data as an HTML document. As a web enablement middleware system, Unicode support is mandatory for Net.Data. This paper will describe how Unicode is important to the various Net.Data interfaces (web browser, macro file and database) and how the Net.Data development team took advantage of the existing internationalization infrastructure when adding Unicode support, including overloading wide character/multibyte conversion functions and utilizing existing wide character buffers.

The result is a Unicode enabled Net.Data that accepts UTF-8 input from the web browser, the database, and its various data sources. Net.Data also can retrieve UTF-16 data from DB2 UDB databases. Output from Net.Data to the web browser is presented in UTF-8.

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28 October 1999, Webmaster