Re: URL internationalization!

Martin J. Duerst (
Wed, 26 Feb 1997 11:48:11 +0100 (MET)

Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 11:48:11 +0100 (MET)
From: "Martin J. Duerst" <>
To: Larry Masinter <>
Subject: Re: URL internationalization!
In-Reply-To: <>
Message-Id: <Pine.SUN.3.95q.970226113552.245F-100000@enoshima>

On Tue, 25 Feb 1997, Larry Masinter wrote:

> As long as we're worring about URL internationalization,
> can we do something about the "http://www." prefix too?
> If some users can only type in greek characters or kana/kanji,
> they will not be able to type in those 7 initial latin
> letters.
> When I tell people that I worked on the URL standard, they
> usually complain to me about "http://www", especially about
> how hard it is to pronounce.

Good point, indeed. I assume that it's also English speaking
people that complain about "http://www". So here the problem
of internationalization is secondary.

The "www" part can go away as soon as SVR DNS records are
deployed. So we don't have to worry about it. Also,
as soon as internationalized domain names will become possible,
local conventions for "www" can develop. Also, it's interesting
to note that for "www", the English are at a particular
disadvantage. It's much easier to pronouce in German,
for example :-).

The "://" part is not a problem for those scripts that use
these symbols, and for most others, it can be solved by
collapsing the local equivalent of them (e.g. the full-width
version in Japan). This applies for other occurences of
syntax characters in URLs.

The remaining "http" can be solved by omission (as many
browsers do, though not a general solution, because you
cannot omit both http and ftp, for example). Other solutions
are to make it available via a menu, or to define local
equivalents that get translated by the browser. As "http"
is an opaque string even to most English speakers, it
would be sufficient to define one string per script,
and not per language.

Regards,	Martin.