Re: Reality check - non-Unicode in Guinea-GTZ documents 2005

From: Mark Davis (
Date: Fri Aug 18 2006 - 11:20:47 CDT

  • Next message: JFC Morfin: "Re: Reality check - non-Unicode in Guinea-GTZ documents 2005"

    For those who read French, there is also the excellent recent
    book:Passeport pour Unicodeby Bernard Desgraupes.

    But for the issue that started off this thread -- the GTZ not using Unicode
    -- I don't think any of these books were really applicable. What is needed
    is a guide for "development agencies", which would be really more of a short
    white paper outlining the issues at a very high level. It'd be great if one
    of the people on this thread stepped up to the plate, and submitted a
    technical note on the topic. (

    For general-purpose books, I think part of the problem is determining the
    audience to target. Let's take the issue of normalization and equivalance,
    for example. It needs a very different explanation depending on the

       - Programmers implementing low-level libraries doing normalization.
       These are the only people that need to care about the gory details of the
       - Programmers using those libraries. If the libraries are well done,
       they need to know much less about normalization itself, and more about the
       library API -- and most importantly, when they need to call the
       libraries. For example, they need to know that normalization isn't preserved
       by string concatenation, and what to do in that case.
       - Writers of specifications and protocols (W3C, IETF,...). In a
       similar boat as #2, but for them features like the stability provisions rise
       in priority.
       - Font designers, who need to know certain facts about normalization,
       but really much more about the font tools -- good tools will do most of the
       work for them.
       - Users, who are more dependent on how their software works than
       anything else. and again, if the software is up to snuff, they don't need to
       care about normalization at all.
       - and so on.

    Thus even if the audience is just programmers, the books needs to be
    structured carefully to give people just what they need.


    On 8/18/06, Richard Gillam <> wrote:
    > Doug--
    > > What is really needed, of course, is a "Unicode for Dummies" book.
    > > Seriously. Anyone who has read books in the "Dummies" or "Complete
    > > Idiot" series knows that some of them are quite well-written, and
    > > excellent at teaching new material to educable beginners.
    > I'm curious-- as I'm sure you know, there are three books about Unicode
    > out
    > there already: Tony Graham's book, Jukka Korpela's book, and my
    > book. None
    > of them, of course, are part of the "Dummies" series, but I'm wondering
    > whether you think any of them would serve well as an introduction to
    > Unicode along the lines of the "Dummies" books, and if not, why not.
    > I haven't read Tony and Jukka's books, although I keep meaning to (by the
    > time I finished my own, I was pretty Unicoded out), so I'm not in a
    > position to comment. I've come to think mine's too long to serve as a
    > good
    > introductory text, even though that's what I was after when I wrote it.
    > Even if none of the current titles really hit the bullseye, is the market
    > big enough for yet another Unicode book? I know mine hasn't exactly flown
    > off the shelves.
    > --Rich Gillam
    > Global Name Recognition/Entity Analytics Solutions
    > IBM

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