Frequently Asked Questions      contents

Why Unicode (UTF-8), and not one of the many specific national encodings?

Not so long ago most people were using some specific national or vendor encoding, like ISO-8859-1 in Western Europe, ISO-2022-KR in Korea and so on. What is wrong with that? There are many issues:

  1. There are just too many of legacy encodings, dozens or even hundreds. Not to mention that each software vendor has invented it's own improved or completely different national encoding variants.
  2. Many mobile devices can't support all that mess of legacy encodings, and support only US-ASCII and Unicode (UTF-8) consistantly.
  3. If you own website, or software house, often you can't afford to create support for a bunch of different encodings - you need something universal and suitable for everybody.
  4. Unlike with legacy encodings, with Unicode you can use various symbols and don't need to care if that symbols are defined in some old hopelessly limited character set.

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