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Re: IDNs, do they work? (some scripts are less equal than others).

From: Najib Tounsi <ntounsi@emi.ac.ma>
Date: Wed, 07 Mar 2007 20:27:36 +0000
Message-ID: <45EF2038.1090706@emi.ac.ma>
To: Richard Ishida <ishida@w3.org>
Cc: 'WWW International' <www-international@w3.org>, W3C Offices <w3c-office-pr@w3.org>
Hi all,

Here are some additional tests about IDNs and browsers (how do browsers 
display non US-ASCII scripts in domain names: original or punycode?) 
(see [1][2]).

1) Browsers policy: Firefox claims that for some trusted TLDs, the IDN 
is displayed in native script. This is true for the scripts tested but 
not for Arabic or Hebrew.
See attached file Issue1.html
So, we should add a new line in the table with an Arabic IDN.

2) What do browsers answer in case of syntactically invalid IDN?
Most browsers display an error message like  "Address not found", 
without explaining why.
Only Opera shows "Invalid URL" and explain why.
See attached file Issue2.html

3) Href attribute: Native vs Punicode vs Escape sequence
- In punycode --> Well, but not very user friendly.
- In native script --> Well, but security risks (Phishing).
- In escaped sequences: --> Bad. The IDN doesn't work.

I think, users should be warned about this last point.
For example, as an authoring tool, NVU silently modify links  (href 
attribute value) containing non US-ASCII characters by replacing them 
with an equivalent escape sequence (e.g.  with %E9). However, this may 
work for the filePath part of an IRI but not for the domaine name part. 
A solution is to (re)edit your html in a text editor and repair the href 
See attached file Issue3.html

Best regards,


PS: At the preceding telecon, I've  put a strange note about Safari. I 
don't remember the exact scenario leading to what I noticed before and 
tried to find it but nothing wrong happened. So let's forget about it.


Najib TOUNSI (mailto:tounsi @ w3.org)
Bureau W3C au Maroc (http://www.w3c.org.ma/)
Ecole Mohammadia d'Ingenieurs, BP 765 Agdal-RABAT Maroc (Morocco)
Phone : +212 (0) 37 68 71 50 (P1711)  Fax : +212 (0) 37 77 88 53
Mobile: +212 (0) 61 22 00 30


Received on Wednesday, 7 March 2007 20:28:04 UTC

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