Rick Jelliffe ricko at allette.com.au
Fri Oct 15 08:28:02 BST 1999

From: Simon St.Laurent <simonstl at simonstl.com>

>Does anyone know of a good central site for finding information on the
>several hundred character encodings that seem to be options on various

For details of allowed names, see IANA.  For mappings from these sets to
Unicode, check out the unicode.org site.

For a list which includes all sorts of EBCDIC encodings, see IBMs XML
parsers and their new C++ transcoder.

For an introduction to how the basic character sets relate to each
other, see my book "The XML & SGML Cookbook" chapter 20 "The Flowering
of Coded Character Sets". This book also has an introduction to the
character/glyph model underlying modern ISO and W3C specifications, in
chapter 18 "About Characters and Glyphs".

For a wonderful book explaining all the details of the encodings used in
China, Korea, Japan & Vietnam see Ken Lunde's book "CVJK Information
Processing" from O'Reilly. This is an utterly amazing book:
single-handedly Lunde has found the regularities behind the seemingly
chaotic world of encodings and characters in East Asia.

For other details of the encodings, see my experimental GLUE transcoder
project at http://www.ascc.net/xml/en/utf-8/glue.html and go "software":
the idea of the GLUE project is that there is not an adequate
specification format for the mappings from encoding to encoding: one
needs to be able to specify arithmetical functions on encodigns which
may use various number of bytes for efficiency: tables are not good
enough. Also, character sets in reality exhibit base/variant
characteristics, which again should be specified.  And finally,
transcoders need to be able to generate numeric character entities (or
the correct kind for that point in the document) when the output
character set does not support a character found in the input.

Rick Jelliffe

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