Web Internationalization: Standards and Practice
Tex Texin - Yahoo! Inc. &
Yves Savourel - ENLASO Corporation

Intended Audience: All

Session Level: Beginner


  • Attendees will be able to design and implement Web documents and Web applications that will work properly for users around the world.
  • Attendees will also be able to design and implement multinational and multilingual Web documents and Web applications.
  • Attendees will be able to identify standards and features that should be included in Requests for Proposals (RFPs) or Requests for Quotes (RFQs), or that should be evaluated before purchase of software for use on the Web.

Attendees of this tutorial will learn about the architecture of the Web with respect to character processing and the facilities of markup languages for internationalization. The tutorial also identifies which features are currently implemented by browsers and which are not.

The Web can be considered a single application, all parts of which must work together. To be a world-wide web, these parts must work for every country, language, and culture. Internationalization is important to ensure that users world-wide can equally benefit from Web technology.

This tutorial is an introduction to internationalization on the World Wide Web. The audience will learn about the standards that provide for global interoperability and come away with an understanding of how to work with multilingual data on the web.

Character representation and the Unicode-based Reference Processing Model are described in detail. HTML, XHTML, XML (eXtensible Markup Language; for general markup), and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets; for styling information) are given particular emphasis. The tutorial addresses language identification and selection, character encoding models and negotiation, text presentation features, and more. The design and implementation of multilingual Web sites and localization considerations are also introduced.

Topics covered include:

  • Unicode Character Encoding Model
  • Character Encoding Negotiation
  • W3C Reference Processing Model
  • Language Identifiers
  • Character Representation and Transformation: Quotes, Casing, Escaping
  • Choices: Unicode versus Markup
  • W3C Normalization
  • String Indexing
  • Numbered Listings
  • Sorting
  • Bidirectional And Vertical Text
  • Ruby Text
  • Multinational and Multilingual File and Directory Organization
  • Language Selection

Continually Updated, Refreshed and Reviewed
This tutorial is continually updated to reflect the most recent versions of Web standards and the actual behaviors of the latest browsers.

The Web Internationalization Tutorial is reviewed by Web standards and internationalization experts on the Unicode Conference Technical Review Committee. The tutorial has been delivered at Unicode Conferences in Dublin (IUC21), San Jose, CA (IUC22), Prague (IUC23) and Atlanta, GA (IUC24), Washington, DC (IUC25) and San Jose, CA (IUC26).

The tutorial is being updated for the next Unicode Conference in Berlin, to reflect the recently released recommendation: W3C Character Model for the World Wide Web 1.0.