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WEB DEVELOPMENT

The Internet has largely been retrofitted to accommodate multiple languages, and it has done a reasonably good job. But for the web to effectively serve a growing, multilingual, multicountry audience, the underlying Internet standards and protocols need to be upgraded; fortunately, many of these upgrades are well under way.

<charset=UTF-8>

First there was <charset=ascii>, and then <charset=8859-1>. Soon you will see the Unicode encoding <charset=UTF-8> at the top of an increasing number of HTML pages. Unicode promises a level of linguistic inclusiveness never before seen on the Internet—or anywhere else, for that matter. The only major remaining obstacle to its success is getting everybody to use it. That may not be too far away, as more and more people upgrade to Unicode-friendly browsers and hardware. Many companies are already selectively using Unicode on their web sites (see Figure 17.1), and considerably more are using Unicode in their databases to manage multiple languages. Unicode won’t solve all our problems, but it will free web developers from fretting over character sets and the many conflicts between them.


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