Re: Java and Unicode

From: Doug Ewell (
Date: Wed Nov 15 2000 - 11:17:12 EST

Elliotte Rusty Harold <> wrote:

> There are a number of possibilities that don't break backwards
> compatibility (making trans-BMP characters require two chars rather
> than one, defining a new wchar primitive data type that is 4-bytes
> long as well as the old 2-byte char type, etc.) but they all make the
> language a lot less clean and obvious. In fact, they all more or less
> make Java feel like C and C++ feel when working with Unicode: like
> something new has been bolted on after the fact, and it doesn't
> really fit the old design.

This is one of the great difficulties in creating a "clean" design:
making it flexible enough so that it remains clean even in the face of
unexpected changes (like Unicode requiring more than 16 bits).

But was it really unexpected? I wonder when the Java specification was
written -- specifically, was it before or after Unicode and JTC1/SC2/WG2
began talking openly about moving beyond 16 bits?

-Doug Ewell
 Fullerton, California

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