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The Unicode Standard, Version 4.0

Unicode provides a unique number for every character, no matter what the platform, no matter what the program, no matter what the language. Fundamentally, computers just deal with numbers. They store letters and other characters by assigning a number for each one. Before Unicode was invented, there were hundreds of different encoding systems for assigning these numbers. No single encoding could contain enough characters: for example, the European Union alone requires several different encodings to cover all its languages. Even for a single language like English no single encoding was adequate for all the letters, punctuation, and technical symbols in common use. Unicode is changing all that! The Unicode Standard has been adopted by such industry leaders as Apple, HP, IBM, JustSystem, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Sun, Sybase, Unisys and many others. Unicode is required by modern standards such as XML, Java, ECMAScript (JavaScript), LDAP, CORBA 3.0, WML, etc. It is supported in many operating systems, all modern browsers, and many other products.

Hardcover: 1504 pages

Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional (September 6, 2003)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0321185781

ISBN-13: 978-0321185785

Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 2.2 x 11.2 inches

Shipping Weight: 5 pounds

Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Best Sellers Rank: #1,987,327 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #10 in Books > Computers & Technology > Programming > APIs & Operating Environments > Unicode #31 in Books > Computers & Technology > Programming > Software Design, Testing & Engineering > Coding Theory #870 in Books > Computers & Technology > Computer Science > Systems Analysis & Design

Anyone dealing with XML or java soon runs into Unicode because this is the standard for representing characters in electronic form in those computer languages. Java, for instance, was designed from its inception to use Unicode. Earlier computer languages like C and C++ can have routines added to handle these, while C# uses XML and hence Unicode.But chances are, when you deal with Unicode, you only deal with a subset. Often only a small subset at that, unless you are using Chinese/Japanese. Typically you work with ascii and the codes for your spoken language if that is not a Western European language. Very few of us deal with much more than this.Which illustrates the appeal of the book. The Big Picture. ALL of Unicode. The breadth is stunning. It shows the written form of every major spoken language and many minor ones. Has the pictograms for Chinese [of course]. But also the symbols for Khmer, Canadian Aboriginal, Tamil, Syraic, et cetera, et cetera. Thumbing through this, you may encounter languages that you did not even know existed. It is one thing to say that we live in a multilingual world. But it is another to actually see it expressed comprehensively at the most basic level.There are two audiences for this book. The first is any computer person who has to deal with issues of internationalisation.But another audience is every Department of Languages or Cultural Anthropology in a university. If this describes your background, then you should know that you do not need facility in computing to appreciate the significance of this book. You can use it as a standard reference, akin to the Oxford English Dictionary vis-a-vis the English language. Look, ignore the computer stuff in the text. Yes, you can do this. The book groups related languages into common chapters.

One reason for the wide acceptance of the Unicode standard is that the Unicode consortium has made it so freely available. There's no point in my discussing in detail what is in this volume when you can peruse PDF files of the entire work on the Unicode website (minus only chapter division graphics).Browse through the book just like you would in a bookstore or library. Print out parts of it or all of it for free if you want. Well, it is free if you don't count the cost of paper (about 1500 sheets or twice that for simplex printing), cost of a binder (or maybe two binders) and the time you would have to spend punching the holes.If you are mainly or only interested in particular sections of the standard then printing only those sections may be a reasonable thing to do.On the other hand the price is *very* reasonable for an 8½" × 11" hardbound book with 1,462 pages. If it's the sort of book you know you want for browsing and for reference then it is likely you will want it in this nicely bound copy.Like the previously published versions of the Unicode standard, this book is a beautiful book that is useful to those who don't need or want to get into the technical details of character properties and rules for bi-directional display and other necessary rules for displaying the characters. But for the actual use of many characters you will have to consult other lists outside the Unicode book or files, e.g. dictionaries and grammars of various languages or explanations of symbols used in various fields of mathematics.Language and writing systems are messy and inconsistant and handling them systematically and coherently cannot be made easy.

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