Monday, September 15, 2008

Tribute to Unicode, or, Unic-Ode

(In honor of Unicode's 20th anniversary!)

Here's to Unicode, that internationalization panacea,
Let's hope that we'll never find need to replace ya!
Your uniformity, uniqueness, and most of all, universality
Make up your (ten) principled character personality.

On round trips you're compatible with the most obscure graphemes
Forcing them into normalcy, then encoding schemes.
With the patience of saints, it is no surprise
You have an RFC role to canonicalize.

You bring characters together in dynamic combinations
Assisting programs in correct interpretation
(But never insisting on specific presentations,
Instead leaving that to experts in localization.)

Shall I extol your streamlined Basic Multilingual Plane
Even as it goes beyond FFFF again and again?
About your capacity I can't be too complimentary
I mean, over a million possible characters supplementary!

All the world's modern and ancient scripts are included
(Though Klingon is one the committee eluded;
But still there's no need to resort to hysteria,
For one is equipped with a Private Use Area.)

Each character, too, has a property selection
Such as function and case, position and direction.
Bi-directionality I mean, the right-to-left, left-to-right one,
Not something as complex as boustrophedon.

Your versatility knows not a boundary;
Many character encodings have emerged from your foundry.
There are 8-, 16-, and 32-bit selections.
(The 7-bit was deprecated for everyone's protection.)
Though, due to certain platform vending and
Other factors, 16-bit is endian.

But Unicode, don't let this praise make you haughty,
For over the years you too have been naughty!
In case you've forgotten, the Korean move,
European currency symbol, and a few others prove
You're not without fault; but these foibles don't mask the
Incredible improvement over US-ASCII.

So here's to Unicode, and to Joe, Mark, and Lee,
For all their hard work and a very low fee.
This repertoire extraordinaire has made its place.
After all, where else could one find a zero-width no-break space?

(c)2008 I18n G.A.L. All rights reserved. The rest of her is less restrained.