Re: Unicode on a website

From: James Partridge (
Date: Fri Sep 22 2000 - 17:02:22 EDT

The weekly internet journal Central Europe Review (
has been entirely unicode since January this year - that's 31 issues in
total, including a summer break. We originally took the decision to go
unicode because we wanted to display correct diacritics for all Central
European and Baltic languages, sometimes on the same pages, and unicode
seemed like the best solution. We developed a few very simple in-house tools
to make the conversions to UTF-8 and more or less kept our fingers crossed.

Very interestingly, although we had anticipated a significant drop in our
readership (approx. 6,000 per issue at that time) and I began to prepare
help pages to tackle the expected flow of problems, we ended up with
literally 4 or 5 requests for help. Not only that, but our readership
continued to climb. In fact, the overwhelming impression that I had was
simply that hardly anyone even noticed the change. The only people since
then who have had some difficulties are Mac users, although with the advent
of MacOS9 and beyond I believe even these are disappearing.

The journal has won a major international media award this year (sorry,
that's not intended as a plug) and become pretty standard reading for anyone
interested in the region. As I say, no one seems to notice the fact that
it's in unicode. In fact, the change to unicode was a major anti-climax.
Even so, as far as I'm aware CER is still the only widely-read journal on
the net that is entirely unicode. Data retrieval is not an issue for us but
otherwise there has been no noticeable change in the performance of the
site. In a sense our use of unicode is not very sophisticated compared to
the work of many / most of the people on this list, but on the other hand I
think we've shown that unicode websites are completely viable in the public
arena, i.e., for people who aren't IT specialists.

James Partridge
St Edmund Hall
Oxford University

----- Original Message -----
From: "Santosh.S.N" <>
To: "Unicode List" <>
Sent: Friday, September 22, 2000 5:35 AM
Subject: Unicode on a website

> Hi friends,
> I would like to have some information from all of you regarding the
> utility of unicode in a website.
> That is to say that I would like to know if any of you have a website that
> uses unicode,how its performance is and other such details.
> To be more precise I would specifically like to know the performance of
> website which is working on unicode.(i.e. How unicode enhances or degrades
> the performance of a website depending on the data retrieval speed etc.)
> I would be very grateful to you people if you could please get back to me
> this one.
> Santosh.S.N
> MTS,Priceline
> HCL Technologies
> Ph-(0118)-4516317/...324 extn.1062 (O)

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