View Full Version : Unicode vs ISO8859

10-07-2006, 02:58 AM
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.

10-07-2006, 05:54 AM
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?

10-07-2006, 10:25 AM
I am not always developing in english, but ISO8859 still works fine. I don't know why.

10-07-2006, 10:47 AM
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.

10-07-2006, 11:15 AM
My native language is Estonian... 6 non-english characters.

10-07-2006, 12:26 PM
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.

Mario F.
10-07-2006, 08:18 PM
... 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.

10-07-2006, 11:04 PM
So if I want to make a multilanguage program, then it is useful. Got it.

10-09-2006, 05:04 PM
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.

10-10-2006, 02:30 AM
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.