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C++ i18n internationalization java Rust unicode

Introduction to Internationalization and Unicode

The Unicode Consortium had its online event last week entitled “Overview of Internationalization and Unicode Projects”. The 6 videos have an average runtime less than 15 minutes and create a nice, gradual explanation of the internationalization / Unicode ecosystem that nicely builds upon itself. The videos are also embedded below.

A colleague asked me a good way to get a background of internationalization. Here is what I told that person:

The best links for beginners I see so far are:

  1. The ICU4X Rust API docs, because they provide a lot of examples and some explanations – https://icu4x.unicode.org/
  2. The ICU User Guide, which has better introductions to a wider set of functionality – https://unicode-org.github.io/icu/
    • A lot of the locale-dependent formatting functionality is stuff that is easier to understand (ex: date formatting, number formatting)
    • Understanding the descriptions for other functionality may benefit from having a better background on the fundamentals of Unicode (see below)
  3. (for more depth) The Core Spec for Unicode – https://www.unicode.org/versions/latest
    • FYI: I’m currently reading through this myself, it’s actually well written and concise.  I’m a slow reader, but I’m still making progress.
    • I wish I had done this earlier for my own purposes, because reading about the details of special topics like Normalization, Case folding, Collation, etc. was much harder for me the first time around since the documentation for those topics doesn’t re-explain the basic concepts in the Unicode Core Spec that it is based on.
    • I intend to read as much as I can — certainly the first 6 chapters, and also read the next several chapters to learn about the various languages & scripts around the world.  It would be useful and help explain the need for some of ICU functionality, like the BiDi algorithm (for runs of LTR/RTL), Normalization, Collation, Case folding / case mapping, etc.

And here are the videos from the event. If you’re going to view them all, the order actually works really well:

As part of the event, following the presentations, I hosted a 30-minute Q&A session with Mark:

If you need to send out a link to someone with all the videos from the event, you can use the official Unicode blog post.

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