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Your database application is doing well in the U.S. and you want to spread out to foreign markets. There's a lot involved in meeting other language needs. This used to mean using a variety of code pages and standards. If you wanted to add Japanese, for example, you had to support Double Byte Code Set (DBCS). Add to that the complexity of right-to-left languages, such as Arabic and Hebrew, and you'd face a daunting task. An international language standard would make porting applications easier.
Unicode is a standard that encompasses all written languages, and may become the equivalent of ASCII for the world community. As Jeff Chang, Software Engineer, International Engineering group at Claris put it, "Unicode is an amazing achievement, because it's enabling technology for international software."
At the recent Third Unicode Implementors Workshop in San Jose, Calif., about 215 developers gathered to see how to incorporate Unicode into their applications. With companies such as IBM, Taligent, Apple, Microsoft, NeXT, and others on the Unicode Consortium, it appears that Unicode is the next encoding wave. The recent merger of the Unicode standard with the International Organization for Standards (ISO) 10646 standard removed the last barrier that could have prevented Unicode from dominating in the international market.
So, how does it impact you as a developer? Many of the new operating systems, such as Windows NT and the "Pink" development by …