ICU Overview: The Open-Source Unicode Library, v2.8

Mark Davis - IBM Corporation

Intended Audience: Managers, Software Engineers, Systems Analysts, Marketers
Session Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

In today's global market, it is crucial to develop and maintain programs that support a wide variety of national languages. Unicode is the foundation for dealing with text world-wide: it has been adopted by ALL major software vendors and modern standards such as XML, Java, ECMAScript (JavaScript), LDAP, and CORBA.

ICU is the premier Unicode-enablement software library, providing a full range of services for supporting internationalization - especially in server environments. ICU is principally developed by IBM, and used in IBM products, but is also freely available as open-source. It provides cross-platform C, C++ and Java APIs, with a thread-safe programming model. The ICU project is licensed under the X License, which is compatible with GPL but non-viral; it can be freely incorporated into any product.

This paper will provide an overview of the ICU features, with special emphasis on the new features in the ICU 2.8 release (Dec 2003), and also discuss the planned features in the upcoming ICU 3.0 release (2004 Q2).