RE: Benefits of Unicode

From: Murray Sargent (
Date: Sat Jan 27 2001 - 17:30:21 EST

In some of my talks at the Unicode conferences (see "Tips and Tricks..."), I
have addressed problems with Unicode, notably trying to figure out whether
to use a Chinese Simplified/Traditional, Japanese, or Korean font to render
a Chinese character inserted in a plain-text scenario. This is a real
scenario that happens millions of times a day in Windows dialog text
controls. Sometimes things can be ambiguous. Fortunately in the vast
majority of cases you have auxilliary information with which to resolve such

Another problem area is the complexity of Unicode due to, for example, the
multiple representations of the same end glyph combination. This particular
problem is well known and is discussed by the UTC normalization TR.
Backward compatibility with a myriad code pages has made Unicode viable, but
it has added lots of complexity. Sometimes I dream of 25 years hence when
all the issues are well understood. At that time one might define a
"cleanicode" that does the job magnificently. Except that you'd have to
translate to/from, so it'd probably never catch on.


-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Cook [mailto:rscook@socrates.Berkeley.EDU]
Sent: Sat, January 27, 2001 1:37 PM
To: Unicode List
Cc: Unicode List
Subject: Re: Benefits of Unicode

Has anybody played devil's advocate to this, with a list of "Failings of
Unicode"? Are there any? :-) This question might in fact result in a
longer Benefits list ....

> Tex Texin wrote:
> I was asked to produce a list of the benefits of Unicode to be used
> as a sidebar with an article referencing Unicode.
> Ideally, it would be a brief set of bullets for an audience that
> doesn't know a lot about internationalization. The bullets shouldnt
> be too detailed or technical.
> I came up with the attached table. I think with some minor amendments
> I can drop the left column now and just use the benefits with
> examples.
> I have until Monday morning to turn it in, so I thought I'd ask
> for some review.
> Anything missing? Any constructive suggestions, gratefully
> appreciated.
> tex
> ---------------------------------------------------------------
> Benefits of Unicode
> Unicode
> Properties Benefits Example
> All the Invoice or
> characters of Multi-lingual ticketing
> all the documents: use any applications can
> languages you or all the print native
> might ever need languages you want language names
> Reduced
> development and
> Defines one set support costs and Sales to
> of algorithms reduced multiple
> for processing time-to-market, countries the
> text with one version day of initial
> of source code release
> that works
> world-wide
> Any applications
> reading the same
> An ISO standard Standards insure text file will
> interoperability
> interpret it
> correctly
> Text sent from
> Accepted Worldwide any part of the
> globally deployment world to any
> capability
> other part
> Supported by Applications can
> most, if not all Ease of exchange text
> modern integration without
> technologies conversion loss
> or errors
> XML, the format
> for structured
> Web standards documents and
> are based on it Internet-readiness data on the Web
> is
> Unicode-based
> Unicode Version
> 3.0 added
> 25,000+
> Evolution extends characters and
> Undergoes application new technical
> continuous lifetime and specifications
> development expands that improved,
> capabilities to
> meet future needs for
> example, Middle
> Eastern language
> support.

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