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HANDS-ON: CHINESE AND JAPANESE > DISPLAY AND INPUT OF ASIAN TEXT

DISPLAY AND INPUT OF ASIAN TEXT

Because Japanese and Chinese rely on so many characters, the standard single-byte character set won’t suffice. The character sets used for Asian languages are traditionally called double-byte character sets (DBCSs) and, more recently, multibyte character sets (MBCSs). The extra byte makes it possible to represent thousands of characters instead of the few hundred allowed by a single-byte character set. When working with double-byte character sets, everything you do gets a little more complicated. For starters, you need fonts that include these additional characters. You can download them for free from Microsoft (http://windowsupdate.microsoft.com) or Netscape (http://home.netscape.com/eng/intl).

Text Display

Fonts are not much of a worry for web developers because you can assume your Asian end users have them installed by default on their systems. The problem you’ll run into is with people in your own U.S. office who might not have the fonts installed. Some companies develop introduction pages or buttons with instructions for how to download the necessary fonts. (See the Yahoo! page in Figure 10 for an example.)


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