Transcribing non-ascii URLs [was: revised "generic syntax" internet draft]

Jonathan Rosenne (Jonathan_Rosenne@CompuServe.com)
Tue, 15 Apr 1997 00:59:28 -0400


Date: Tue, 15 Apr 1997 00:59:28 -0400
From: Jonathan Rosenne <Jonathan_Rosenne@CompuServe.com>
Subject: Transcribing non-ascii URLs [was: revised "generic syntax" internet draft]
To: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, Francois Yergeau <yergeau@alis.com>,
Message-Id: <199704150058_MC2-1448-B7B0@compuserve.com>

Message text written by Dan Connolly
>On the one hand, it makes a lot of sense that if a user creates
>a file and gives it a hebrew or arabic or CJK name, and then exports
>the file via an HTTP server, that the Address: field in a web
>browser should show the hebrew or arabic or ... characters faithfully.
>
>On the other hand, suppose that address is to be printed and put
>in an advertisement or a magazine article. Should it print the
>hebrew/arabic/CJK characters using those glyphs?
>Or should it print ASCII glyphs corresponding to the characters
>of the %xx encoding of the original characters?

Clearly, a Hebrew URL is intended for the Hebrew reader, who will have no
problem in reading it and typing it. A Hebrew page intended for an
international audience may be expected to have an English (ASCII) URL.

>(I'm not saying that everybody knows english, but rather
>that a person using a computer connected to the internet
>has a farily high probablility of being able to match
>the 'a' character on a peice of paper to the 'a' character
>on the keyboard.)

Don't underestimate the difficulty people in other countries have with
ASCII and the Latin script. It is for many a foreign script, just as
Hebrew/Arabic/CJK to most westerners. Even if they are educated and know
it, it is less familiar than their own script. As the use of computers
spreads to non-professional users and to school children, the need for
local URLs will increase.

Jonathan