Re: Unicode Support in Java

From: Martin J Duerst (
Date: Fri Mar 22 1996 - 10:38:31 EST

Charles Wicksteed ( wrote:

>We are having trouble with the display of Unicode strings from
>programs written in Java. We were encouraged by the fact that
>characters and strings in Java are Unicode, and expected Java
>programs to be able to display the characters when running on
>Windows NT, which has extensive support for Unicode (for example
>Notepad on Windows NT can display and edit Unicode files).
>However, when running Java applets in the applet viewer or in
>Netscape Navigator 2.0, the most significant byte of each Unicode
>value is ignored, and the characters are all displayed as Latin-1.

Your are right. Java is Unicode-enabled in that for string storage and
manipulation, characters are considered as 16-bit Unicode entities.
This is a very basic decision, and definitely the right one, and so
Java is very well prepared for Unicode. However, compared to
implementing string storage and manipulation, rendering or
input for Unicode is much more complicated. As of last September,
the Java team did not have anything in this direction, although
they were very well avare that they would have to work on it.
As far as I am informed, they are now seriously working on it.
However, designing and implementing e.g. a multilingual rendering
architecture that will work on various machines (crucial for Java)
is definitely not an easy job, even if as you say the NT part could
be easier than others.
It should be relatively easy to hack an NT Java browser to render
Unicode, and maybe it's also possible to do a Java "hack" to render
Unicode on NT, but these will all be strictly limited to NT so that
the original platform-encompassing properties of Java will
get lost (at least for the moment).

Regards, Martin.

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