Re: Support for Multilingual Documents

Date: Mon Dec 06 1999 - 13:01:50 EST

Hi Ed,

I'm aware of these nice multilingual features in these products. Thanks for
pointing them out again, though.

However, if you are authoring web pages for a general audience, then IE and
NN are the standards you have to support. My point is: just because you,
the page author, can view the character does not mean that arbitrary users
can view it. Users on most standard installs of Windows, Mac, or UNIX do
not get the character sets and fonts by default and most won't understand
why that little black square is being presented in place of various
(sometimes common) characters.

IOW: I'd argue in favor of more Unicode and cross-script support built into
the operating systems. I would be happier if, for example, the retail
Windows 2000 included the full install of all of the scripts and associated
fonts by default. My understanding is that this won't happen for obvious
reasons: most users don't need it and don't want to buy a larger hard disk
(I'm happy that they will be installable by people like myself who would
like to type the occasional Japanese without rebooting, though).

In the meantime, Web developers need to be aware of the "standard" level of
support (which means code page support, for example, on Windows) in order
to get the result that they expect. And realize that while NCRs may encode
the data in a lossless manner, the end user will probably see a question
mark, underscore or black block at display time.

Someone might argue that characters that you can't display are probably as
meaningful as displaying characters the user can't read... but in most
cases I find that users read that your page is "broken" somehow.



Addison P. Phillips
Senior Globalization Consultant
Global Sight Corporation
101 Metro Drive, Suite 750
San Jose, California 95110 USA
(+1) 408.350.3649 - Phone

Going global with your web site? Global Sight provides Web-based
software solutions that simplify the process, cut costs, and save time.

                    Edward Cherlin
                    < To: "Unicode List" <>
          > cc:
                                                     Subject: Support for Multilingual Documents
                    05-12-99 22:48

At 10:57 -0800 1999/12/03, wrote:
>Not to mention the annoyance/impracticality of having to manipulate, edit,
>maintain, translate, and otherwise use files that consist of an endless
>stream of NCRs.

What? We can't write a little utility to translate between UTF-8 and
NCRs while we wait for some Web page design program to implement it

>Plus, this doesn't solve the "code page of the user"
>problem--if the user can't display the character anyway, what good does it
>do? ::sigh:: we're back to font support for the character set....

You can get quite adequate script support in the Alis Tango
Browser/mailer/page builder at Free 30-day
trial, cheap to buy, Windows 98 and NT.

Unitype Global Writer and Global Office are both inexpensive
descendants of Gamma Productions Multilingual Scholar for DOS. Global
Writer gives you a wide set of writing systems in a word processor of
rather modest capability otherwise, and Global Office gives you the
same set of writing systems for input into Microsoft Office 97 for
Windows, i.e. Word, Excel, Outlook, Access, Powerpoint.

Both companies include TrueType fonts for all of their supported
scripts. Even if you don't want the applications, buying them just
for the fonts is a bargain. These fonts can be used on Windows and
UNIX systems, and someday Real Soon Now [(TM) Jerry Pournelle] on

Ed Cherlin, President, CAUCE <>
  "Everything should be made as simple as possible,
__but no simpler__." Attributed to Albert Einstein

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