Unicode > ASCII on the web

Google's pushing Unicode 5.1, the latest version of the ginormous meta-lingual character set, less than a month after it was released. Though Unicode surpassed ASCII and other encoding systems a few months ago, googleblog now has a pretty graph.
I once wrote a script that would translate ISO to Mac Roman in whatever way needed, so this one server which ran on some ancient, decrepit Mac running something like system 8 wouldn't munge our text workflow at the place I worked at. I am particularly sensitive to the empty square boxes of doom. I have had dreams about giant grids, with hexadecimally-named columns and rows, where every cell contains only the proprietary Apple character. Or some random thingie with an umlaut or whatever the hell Apple decided to put where the apostrophe should be. Moving to Unicode 5.1 [Googleblog]

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Try your luck at besc...@gmail.com  
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3 Responses to Unicode > ASCII on the web

  1. technogeek says:

    When you need someone to byte the header off a live checksum, you can always count on the Geek.

    Just don’t ask for an image. Beware of Geeks bearing GIFs.

  2. technogeek says:

    Note that genuine ASCII — the 0-128 character range — is identical to the low range of Unicode, and that the UTF-8 encoding of Unicode takes advantage of that so any proper ASCII text is also legitimate UTF-8 text. So the division claimed above between ASCII and UTF-8 may be misleading, unless the data is explicitly tagged with which encoding the author intended it be interpreted as.

    (Of course if you insisted on using one of the extended codepages, that’s a different matter … but that isn’t properly ASCII; it’s Latin-1 or whatever else and belongs on one of the other lines.)

    It may be worth noting that Unicode is the native character set for XML, and for Java and a number of other recent languages, which may have helped to encourage people to move in this direction. A good idea helps; good tooling helps more; tooling that makes doing the right thing easier than doing the wrong thing helps most.

  3. Rob Beschizza says:

    Techno, I actually took a look at what I did all those years ago, and the function is named “MAC2ISO” so I’ll bet a dollar you’re exactly right!

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