Unicode Explained
Internationalize Documents, Programs, and Web Sites
Publisher: O'Reilly Media
Final Release Date: June 2006
Pages: 680

Fundamentally, computers just deal with numbers. They store letters and other characters by assigning a number for each one. There are hundreds of different encoding systems for mapping characters to numbers, but Unicode promises a single mapping. Unicode enables a single software product or website to be targeted across multiple platforms, languages and countries without re-engineering. It's no wonder that industry giants like Apple, Hewlett-Packard, IBM andMicrosoft have all adopted Unicode.

Containing everything you need to understand Unicode, this comprehensive reference from O'Reilly takes you on a detailed guide through the complex character world. For starters, it explains how to identify and classify characters - whether they're common, uncommon, or exotic. It then shows you how to type them, utilize their properties, and process character data in a robust manner.

The book is broken up into three distinct parts. The first few chapters provide you with a tutorial presentation of Unicode and character data. It gives you a firm grasp of the terminology you need to reference various components, including character sets, fonts and encodings, glyphs and character repertoires.

The middle section offers more detailed information about using Unicode and other character codes. It explains the principles and methods of defining character codes, describes some of the widely used codes, and presents code conversion techniques. It also discusses properties of characters, collation and sorting, line breaking rules and Unicode encodings. The final four chapters cover more advanced material, suchas programming to support Unicode.

You simply can't afford to be without the nuggets of valuable information detailed in Unicode Explained.

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


Best Book - Very comprehensive

By Siva R Jasthi

from Minneapolis, MN

About Me Designer, Developer, Educator

Verified Reviewer


  • Accurate
  • Concise
  • Easy to understand
  • Helpful examples
  • Well-written


    Best Uses

    • Intermediate
    • Novice
    • Student

    Comments about oreilly Unicode Explained:

    I am using this book as a reference / text book while teaching a graduate course on "Contemporary Issues on Software Engineering" at Metropolitan State University, MN. The course focusses on the source of issues in multi-lingual development, deployment of software solutions and focusses on Unicode aspects.

    I also use this book at my work as a reference on how to design, develop and test I18N software.

    It is a wonderful book and the author clearly explains the concepts with so many examples. The material presented is very comprehensive and covers many scenarios and use cases that maps to some real-world practical problems we are trying to solve.

    Though the book is written back in 2006, the material and the concepts presented are still valid and relevant - thus indicating that the author has presented the concepts at a higher-level abstraction - and these abstractions are still applicable to modern programming languages and technologies.

    This book certainly helped me to learn a lot of Unicode and to develop practical and useful applications in Indic languages.

    I recommend this book without any hesitation to anyone interested in learning Unicode and multi-lingual software development

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


    A well written book on Unicode and all things concerning it

    By Sankarshan

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Unicode Explained:

    Unicode is one component around which it is difficult to write a "definitive" book. This one comes close. It is very good. Unicode is generally not understood well and more often than not, those who desire to learn about it have the unicode.org site as the reference. The site is good, but it is a bit of a kludge for daily reference.

    This is a work that would come in handy for daily reference. For application developers worried about i18n and l10n, for web applications, for language computing students, Unicode Explained lays bare the details of Unicode in a most elegant way.

    By providing a large expanse of real life examples, it provides immediate identification of Unicode issues and their impact. It touches upon the bits of encoding, characters with unusual depth.

    For those who are familiar with Unicode, this would be a good reference for quick perusal. For others, the chapters around Characters, Encoding, Internet Protocols would be of tremendous value.

    This is worth a place on a developer's bookshelf

    (0 of 3 customers found this review helpful)


    Great book

    By motolep

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Unicode Explained:

    this book is explain the unicode very clearly.

    thanks for the author.

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