Re: Developing multilingual web sites

From: Glen Perkins (
Date: Thu Mar 23 2000 - 05:26:19 EST

Just a thought, but maybe you could refer to Unicode as the "system
encoding", and the "other" as the "legacy support encoding".

__Glen Perkins__

----- Original Message -----
From: Chris Pratley <>
To: Unicode List <>
Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2000 9:01 PM
Subject: RE: Developing multilingual web sites

> Hi Suzanne. I think have to disagree. I don't see anything "native" about
> the various non-Unicode legacy/emulated/ANSI/whatever-you-want-to-call
> code pages that Win2000/NT happen to support for compatibility with older
> software.
> The whole concept of encodings, code pages, etc. is extremely hard for
> non-specialists to understand. The only way to clear the confusion (or at
> least not make it worse) is to use the proper terms and explain lucidly so
> that eventually it can all come together. Otherwise, people thinking that
> code pages are native to NT are going to get very confused when they dig a
> little deeper and see the developer documentation and talk to developers,
> who refer to Unicode as the native encoding.
> Even with clear use of terms, I despair of ever getting a significant
> fraction of users to understand, and my goal is to make it unnecessary to
> understand. But while we are in this time of hybrid Unicode/non-Unicode
> environments and tools, users will occasionally bump up against this
> problem, and when that happens, using the right terms (at least not
> misleading ones) is important. (Aside to the purists: in my other mail, I
> purposely said that the emulated encoding is "usually called the ANSI code
> page". That is a fact. It is usually called that, like it or not. I often
> joke about that use of ANSI in presentations, but we're stuck with it - it
> is one of the wrinkles of Windows documentation and vernacular.)
> To clarify:
> * For Win2000/NT, the "native/internal/actual" encoding is UCS-2/UTF-16.
> is always Unicode regardless of the system language.
> * For Win3.1/9x/Me, the "native/internal/actual" encoding is some code
> never Unicode. The code page is different depending on the language
> of the system.
> * For compatibility with Win9x/Me and even Win16 applications,
> Windows2000/NT will emulate a particular language flavour of legacy
> Windows9x/3.x. Calls to the non-Unicode APIs in Windows2000/NT are
> translated to Unicode, acted on, and the results translated back to the
> emulated code page before being returned to the application.
> Non-Unicode applications are never aware that Win2000/NT is actually using
> Unicode, and they never call the Unicode APIs in 2000/NT. I don't see any
> way that we can get away calling this emulated code page the "native"
> encoding of Windows2000. Non-Unicode APIs are guaranteed to be slower on
> Win2000/NT than the "native" (Unicode) APIs.
> This underlying use of Unicode in Win2000/NT and not in Win9x is a
> fundamental difference in the two systems, so I think it is highly
> misleading to say that the native encoding of Win2000 is something other
> than Unicode. I understand that if you think of native in the sense of
> "local", it has more meaning, but we should definitely avoid native in
> sense. You can call it emulated, or legacy, but most people just call it
> ANSI code page... :)
> Regards,
> Chris
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Suzanne Topping []
> Sent: Wednesday, March 22, 2000 5:34 AM
> To: Unicode List
> Subject: Re: Developing multilingual web sites
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Chris Pratley <>
> > First, I want to clarify that the "native encoding" of Windows2000 is
> > Unicode. What you are referring to as "native encoding" is actually the
> > emulated encoding, usually called the ANSI code page of the system. In
> Hong
> > Kong, this should be "Big5" encoding.
> I wonder if this might give Aaron the wrong idea...
> In my exposure to encoding topics, discussions, articles, etc. "native"
> encoding is the term that is commonly used as a descriptor for encodings
> other than Unicode.
> While Unicode forms the basis of Windows 2000, calling it "native
> may lead to confusion.

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