Unicode vs ISO8859

This is a discussion on Unicode vs ISO8859 within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; Why should I use Unicode instead of ISO8859? Is there any REAL reason, why it's better? I know that it ...

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    Reverse Engineer maxorator's Avatar
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    Unicode vs ISO8859

    Why should I use Unicode instead of ISO8859?
    Is there any REAL reason, why it's better?

    I know that it makes the text take 2 times more (HDD,memory) space and supports some languages. But I don't see that it is actually more useful.
    "The Internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it." - John Gilmore

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    Cat Lover
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    You said it yourself, it supports more languages. If you're only going to develop in english, then yes, Unicode isn't likely to offer that much extra use, although I believe it also has some extra mathematical symbols and similar?

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    Reverse Engineer maxorator's Avatar
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    I am not always developing in english, but ISO8859 still works fine. I don't know why.
    "The Internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it." - John Gilmore

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    Registered User whiteflags's Avatar
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    I'm pretty sure that ISO-8859-1 also supports languages like Spanish, German, French, and some other Western European languages I'm forgetting. It depends on the language you're developing in I suppose. But Unicode has the advantage in that you're usually sure that language X is supported.

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    Reverse Engineer maxorator's Avatar
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    My native language is Estonian... 6 non-english characters.
    "The Internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it." - John Gilmore

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    Cat without Hat CornedBee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxorator
    I know that it makes the text take 2 times more (HDD,memory) space
    Wrong. Unicode itself doesn't make anything any size. It depends solely on the encoding used. UTF-8, for example, requires one byte per character for text that only uses ASCII characters, but it has the option of using far more than that.
    UTF-16 uses 2 bytes for most characters, so it's usually twice the size - unless most of the characters are those that require 3-5 bytes in UTF-8, like Chinese ideographs. But there are some very rare characters that require 4 bytes in UTF-16.
    UTF-32, finally, uses 4 bytes per character, but it is absolutely guaranteed to use exactly that.
    All the buzzt!
    CornedBee

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    (?<!re)tired Mario F.'s Avatar
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    ... so adding to what was already said, the advantage is that if you code in unicode, particularly if you use UTF-16, you will pretty much be in your way to translate your program to almost any language in the world by simply changing your string tables. No further coding involved. No client configuration involved either.
    The programmer’s wife tells him: “Run to the store and pick up a loaf of bread. If they have eggs, get a dozen.”
    The programmer comes home with 12 loaves of bread.


    Originally Posted by brewbuck:
    Reimplementing a large system in another language to get a 25% performance boost is nonsense. It would be cheaper to just get a computer which is 25% faster.

  8. #8
    Reverse Engineer maxorator's Avatar
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    So if I want to make a multilanguage program, then it is useful. Got it.
    "The Internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it." - John Gilmore

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    Registered User Jaqui's Avatar
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    it's also usefull if you are getting documents from around the world, since utf-8/16/32 will be able to display most languages easily.
    stops the "download / install font" for viewing email, or documents.

    My systems are all set to use unicode by default, and it's only for some chinese characters that it ever wants me to install a font.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Henager
    If the average user can put a CD in and boot the system and follow the prompts, he can install and use Linux. If he can't do that simple task, he doesn't need to be around technology.

  10. #10
    Yes, my avatar is stolen anonytmouse's Avatar
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    As Jaqui said, it is not just for multi-lingual programs. I use an English interface browser, but I still want it be able to display international characters. I want my word-processor to be able to open filenames with unicode characters. A chat program with an English interface will still be useful to many Chinese users, if it handles unicode characters. Etc.

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