Unicode, European languages and HTML - help !

From: Thomas Jung (tjung@modemmedia.com)
Date: Tue May 16 2000 - 16:07:18 EDT


I am not 100% sure this is the place to ask those questions - being new
to the list, please forgive me...

We are currently building a site to allow people accross Europe to book
a service for their car. This site will therefore display HTML forms in
all european languages. I would like to achieve the following:

    - deliver all pages through the same web server
    - get all pages to display properly in each country
    - store values posted by users into an Oracle 7 database
    - email the dealers on a daily basis with the content of the
database for their country (i.e. service bookings)

We are using Netscape Enterprise server as our webserver, ATG Dynamo as
our Java application server and Oracle 7 as our backend database.

+++ UNICODE ??? +++

I understand that if I want to store data into a database, I need to use
a consistent character encoding scheme. Since Unicode covers all
European character sets, we decided to setup both web server and Oracle
database to use Unicode. Is that a correct assumption ?

+++ DELIVERY OF HTML ??? +++

Now comes the problem of delivery of pages. We have decided to code all
our HTML pages using Unicode values (i.e. &#...;). However, countries
seem to complain that it is not displaying properly. What does that mean
? Their browser does not support unicode ? They do not have unicode
fonts installed (BTW, which fonts can be used for all languages /
platforms) ?


We want to store the result of the forms into our Oracle database and
email them in bulk to each country every day. If we use unicode for all
of our HTML pages, does that mean that once the forms are submitted, the
user input also get converted back to unicode (i.e. the webserver is
able to map the local charset with the unicode one) ? In other words,
will the user input be stored as unicode characters in the Oracle
database ?


When we send the bulk email to each country with their data - do we need
to convert the unicode data coming from the database into each
individual charset ?

eeergh... all this is confusing...

Help !


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