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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10th February 2013, 11:29 AM
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Root Cause

Same as you guys, as share your exasperation at the lack of understanding of IDNs, lack of interest in IDNs, lack of proper implementation of IDNs ...etc...

I consider there is a root cause to these problems which is "Lack of IT Internationalisation teaching in Schools and Universities". Well that certainly seems to be the case here in the UK. Recently I have had reason to look at various curricula from British Universities & Schools. No mention of Unicode, no mention of character sets, no mention of internationalizing websites ...etc...

One of the questions I usually ask at the start of my International Computing module is: "Do you know what Unicode is?" and generally the students do not know what it is.

My conviction is that IT Internationalisation should be a core subject taught at schools. Or at least the basics of IT Internationalisation in order to enlighten the students that the world is not just ASCII

I recently coined the phrase "ASCII Anglo Saxons" which, I think, about sums up the situation here in the UK

What is the situation in your country?

André 小山 Schappo
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Old 10th February 2013, 01:34 PM
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Re: Root Cause

Quote:
Originally Posted by andre View Post
Same as you guys, as share your exasperation at the lack of understanding of IDNs, lack of interest in IDNs, lack of proper implementation of IDNs ...etc...

I consider there is a root cause to these problems which is "Lack of IT Internationalisation teaching in Schools and Universities". Well that certainly seems to be the case here in the UK. Recently I have had reason to look at various curricula from British Universities & Schools. No mention of Unicode, no mention of character sets, no mention of internationalizing websites ...etc...

One of the questions I usually ask at the start of my International Computing module is: "Do you know what Unicode is?" and generally the students do not know what it is.

My conviction is that IT Internationalisation should be a core subject taught at schools. Or at least the basics of IT Internationalisation in order to enlighten the students that the world is not just ASCII

I recently coined the phrase "ASCII Anglo Saxons" which, I think, about sums up the situation here in the UK

What is the situation in your country?

André 小山 Schappo
Nobody understands Unicode, very little software, very few apps, websites. I just submitted some unicode in a form to ParkingCrew, and it completely screwed it up. Gmail can't handle URLs containing unicode. It screws them up. We've been talking about Facebook and Twitter not working either recently.

Overall, the (western) world is still ASCII. Until Asian unicode apps (like Line), start to dominate, things won't change. Westerners don't seem to care if other languages don't work. Its just not their mindset. Most people in England know nothing about Asia.

But the real problem is Asians use the big western apps and websites (fb, twitter, gmail), so its hard sell to convince people to use IDNs for big marketing campaigns when they fail to work in major apps.

That's why IDNs haven't taken off yet. They just don't work well enough in the real world.

As an example, in PHP, to get the length of an ASCII string you use strlen(). But if you pass a unicode string into it, it screws it up, it fails. You have to use the a call from the multibyte string library, mb_strlen().

How many people writing PHP code now even know this, or care? How much legacy code is out there that assumes characters are single bytes? The number of "won't function with international character sets" PHP function calls across the web will number in the millions, probably tens of millions.

And people in England will keep using strlen() instead of mb_strlen(), simply out of ignorance.

Solutions? Yes, education in schools and unis that teach programming. Plus complaining when any piece of software doesn't accept unicode or screws it up.

But its going to take many many years. Its not like the Y2K bug where there was a deadline. There is no deadline for internationalization. Many websites and apps will continue to fail for the next 10 to 20 years. Legacy code is rarely rewritten. It has to be paid for.

What's it like at Luffy?

Last edited by domainguru; 10th February 2013 at 01:51 PM..
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Old 10th February 2013, 02:51 PM
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Re: Root Cause

You might say that the UK is stuck in a WWII mind set.

The truth is probably worse. Most of the Tory party still hackers after The Iron Duke!
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Old 10th February 2013, 02:55 PM
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Re: Root Cause

Its amazing - in Google Ads, if its an IDN, they show the URL in PUNYCODE.

www.xn--c3cugjc8cxav6e2a9j2bxb0e.com/

If Google can't be arsed to deal with IDNs, what chance the rest?

Its a scandal. Who would want to advertise an IDN with Adsense when Google show this meaningless crap in the middle of the ad.

Facebook, Twitter, gmail, adsense, the list is practically endless. we should compile a top 100 websites / apps / services that can't deal with IDNs or show PUNYCODE. Its sickening, and it cuts sales to end users by a HUGE amount.
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Old 10th February 2013, 11:16 PM
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Re: Root Cause

99% of english speakers around the world know nothing about IDN's and will never need to know, and they're happy sitting on the couch watching (country name) Idol and (country name)'s Next Top Model and hanging out at FarceBook.

Once IDN gTLD's and 100% IDN email hit town, the people that need it will know all about it. And they'll complain when websites don't work proper.
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Old 11th February 2013, 12:36 AM
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Re: Root Cause

Two separate issues:

1) Web applications that don't support non-ascii characters. As domainguru points out, many of these may never be fixed. But the owners probably don't care, as long as they only serve an English-speaking market. And we don't care, because they won't be used by our end users.

2) Web applications that support unicode text, but that don't support IDNs (showing punycode instead of unicode in domain names). Examples are Facebook (for now), Twitter, Gmail, and Google AdSense. We really need these to work, in order to drive end-user acceptance of IDNs.

There is an ICANN group, the Ad-Hoc ccNSO/GNSO Joint IDN Working Group (what a name), which focuses among other things on "Universal Acceptance of IDN TLDs". They are due to put out a final report sometime before the Beijing ICANN meeting, with a public comment period.

They mention problems with IDNs in browsers and email systems. They sound a bit unfocused, and may not have a lot of influence. But Google is more likely to listen to them than to us.

So when the public comment period opens, we may want to post some comments.

Avtal
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Old 11th February 2013, 12:38 AM
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Re: Root Cause

When comments open up, post of list of popular websites that don't handle IDN domains correctly.

Name & shame.
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Old 11th February 2013, 01:53 AM
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Talking Re: Root Cause

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Originally Posted by Drewbert View Post
When comments open up, post of list of popular websites that don't handle IDN domains correctly.

Name & shame.
+1 lol
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Old 11th February 2013, 03:31 AM
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Re: Root Cause

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drewbert View Post
When comments open up, post of list of popular websites that don't handle IDN domains correctly.

Name & shame.
Shh.....

I don't think anyone outside our little cult cares. Nevermind the fact people are already using them. Nevermind the fact money is to be made on them.

Dissident!!!!

P.S. Though it'll be funny how much corps actually do care when they realize their dream IDN has been regged due to grandfathering come next ICANN meeting. How many wipos will result? I'm guessing at least 1k. We'll see....
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Old 11th February 2013, 07:49 AM
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Re: Root Cause

Quote:
Originally Posted by domainguru View Post

What's it like at Luffy?
Like other British Universities, Luffy is dominated by ASCII Anglo Saxons
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Old 11th February 2013, 08:04 AM
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Re: Root Cause

Quote:
Originally Posted by andre View Post
Like other British Universities, Luffy is dominated by ASCII Anglo Saxons
You must get lonely there sometimes

Don't know what programming languages they teach now. We certainly didn't get taught PHP, probably because it didn't exist, but it might be taught now?

If so, wonder if they get taught to use mb string routines? Do the lecturers even know about this stuff ....
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Old 11th February 2013, 08:07 AM
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Re: Root Cause

Particularly name and shame any website or app that displays punycode when they detect an IDN. I'd rather have no link at all than xn-- garbage appearing on screen.
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Old 11th February 2013, 02:01 PM
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Re: Root Cause

Quote:
Originally Posted by domainguru View Post
You must get lonely there sometimes

Don't know what programming languages they teach now. We certainly didn't get taught PHP, probably because it didn't exist, but it might be taught now?

If so, wonder if they get taught to use mb string routines? Do the lecturers even know about this stuff ....
WRT IT Internationalisation - Mine is a solitary voice

PHP is now taught here but I do not teach it. But in my International Computing module I do briefly cover the PHP mb string functions for processing Unicode strings
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Old 12th February 2013, 02:58 AM
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Re: Root Cause

The PHP "consortium" should deprecate the non-internationalized versions of their software. Until that happens, 95% of people in the west will merrily write string functions that begins with str not mb, and break as soon as it meets an Asian language.

Hats off to you for teaching the mb string functions. Hope the students are listening. Doubtful obviously
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Old 12th February 2013, 03:25 AM
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Re: Root Cause

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Originally Posted by domainguru View Post
The PHP "consortium" should deprecate the non-internationalized versions of their software. Until that happens, 95% of people in the west will merrily write string functions that begins with str not mb, and break as soon as it meets an Asian language.

Hats off to you for teaching the mb string functions. Hope the students are listening. Doubtful obviously
Using unicode has more overhead for a function. However, it is trivial to make the function detect a non-ascii unicode string and have one function. This is what perl does for the most part, while php unfortunately choose to create separate mb_ funcitons.
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Old 12th February 2013, 04:01 PM
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Re: Root Cause

Quote:
Originally Posted by blastfromthepast View Post
Using unicode has more overhead for a function. However, it is trivial to make the function detect a non-ascii unicode string and have one function. This is what perl does for the most part, while php unfortunately choose to create separate mb_ funcitons.
If its trivial to make a function detect a non-ASCII unicode string and have one function then PHP consortium should make that function part of the core and deprecate the old string functions. Then everyone wins.

But of course they won't for another 10 years, if ever.

To be frank, php is a mess, a small interpreted scripting language that "gets things done by anyone" at many many costs, like stability of code, maintainability, speed. Christ, it doesn't even "type" things.

It only introduced "objects" in PHP4 and implemented them wrongly. So they had to completely redo objects. One of many many mistakes making php the mess it is today.

Just my opinion. Of course people that write php for a living will tell you it "gets things done". That's code for "I don't know how to learn a real programming language"

Love to know from Andre, who lectures on php at a real Uni, what he really thinks of it.... is it your favourite "web" language Andre or do you have to teach it because of its popularity?
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Old 13th February 2013, 10:43 AM
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Re: Root Cause

Quote:
Originally Posted by domainguru View Post
If its trivial to make a function detect a non-ASCII unicode string and have one function then PHP consortium should make that function part of the core and deprecate the old string functions. Then everyone wins.

But of course they won't for another 10 years, if ever.

To be frank, php is a mess, a small interpreted scripting language that "gets things done by anyone" at many many costs, like stability of code, maintainability, speed. Christ, it doesn't even "type" things.

It only introduced "objects" in PHP4 and implemented them wrongly. So they had to completely redo objects. One of many many mistakes making php the mess it is today.

Just my opinion. Of course people that write php for a living will tell you it "gets things done". That's code for "I don't know how to learn a real programming language"

Love to know from Andre, who lectures on php at a real Uni, what he really thinks of it.... is it your favourite "web" language Andre or do you have to teach it because of its popularity?
The only aspect of PHP I teach is the mb functions. My focus is and has to be the ability of systems to handle unicode so I do not make any judgements on PHP. With the current state of IT Internationalisation I am thankful if a system can handle unicode at all (by whatever means). I am even more thankful if a system can handle unicode characters outside of the BMP
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Old 13th February 2013, 12:02 PM
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Re: Root Cause

Quote:
Originally Posted by andre View Post
The only aspect of PHP I teach is the mb functions. My focus is and has to be the ability of systems to handle unicode so I do not make any judgements on PHP. With the current state of IT Internationalisation I am thankful if a system can handle unicode at all (by whatever means). I am even more thankful if a system can handle unicode characters outside of the BMP
Sound like you are depressed by the "State of Internationalization" across the web and IT as whole. That's sad, but totally believable. Its a complex subject, and people only tend to change habits when forced to, programmers no exception.

I couldn't believe how long it has taken Windows to deal with Unicode at all .... no "foreign" fonts installed etc. on western machines. It was like going back to the dark ages after using a Mac. The last version of Windows I used it was a virtual impossibility to have fonts from more than one region, complete nightmare to try and install. But that's Microsoft for you. Hard for dinosaurs to change their ways.

Keep fighting the fight
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Old 13th February 2013, 02:23 PM
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Re: Root Cause

Quote:
Originally Posted by domainguru View Post
Sound like you are depressed by the "State of Internationalization" across the web and IT as whole. That's sad, but totally believable. Its a complex subject, and people only tend to change habits when forced to, programmers no exception.

I couldn't believe how long it has taken Windows to deal with Unicode at all .... no "foreign" fonts installed etc. on western machines. It was like going back to the dark ages after using a Mac. The last version of Windows I used it was a virtual impossibility to have fonts from more than one region, complete nightmare to try and install. But that's Microsoft for you. Hard for dinosaurs to change their ways.

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Old 14th February 2013, 04:52 PM
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Re: Root Cause

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rubber Duck View Post
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