Non-ASCII encoding [Scanned]

Goudge, Stephen stephen.goudge at
Thu Jul 3 08:51:14 UTC 2008

> From: Jaakko Hyvätti [mailto:jaakko.hyvatti at] 
> I say just let's get over with it and do the change to UTF-8 
> now.  There 
> are no real problems with it, it's only comments, and it is 
> not worth any 
> extra pondering.

I agree, UTF-8 comments are a good idea; and, even though I'm in a Windows place, I also agree with not including the BOM.

My only worry would be spec creep: it would be friendly to the End User if the names could be presented in all their accented glory within the UI and "everyone can handle Unicode filenames now, can't they" (quoth the guy writing the Req Spec - not me, honest). I foresee requests coming in (if they haven't already) that "the names of the cities are spelt correctly everywhere and as the file is UTF-8 it won't cause any problems..."

Well, if the names of the Zones themselves started to appear in UTF-8 it would certainly cause my code a lot of pain...

Can I suggest that a mechanism is added to allow the fully decorated region & city names to be added in UTF-8, along with a firm note that the names following the "Zone" keyword are 7-bit Ascii only?

Perhaps, to avoid *having* to modify the parser inside every variant of 'zic', it could be done via a convention in the comments, such as "a comment immediately preceding a Zone declaration which starts with ##! is a UTF-8 form of the Zone's name" suitable for collection and display in a UI. This leaves a few things to be tweaked - eg, if we let multiple lines give alternate spellings should they be language tagged so the most appropriate one can be selected for display; or whether something clever needs to be done to cope with the fact that the aliases for different Zones that are in the same region (subdirectory) may not give the same spelling for the region...

Stephen Goudge

Transport R&D
Petards Joyce-Loebl
Gateshead, UK

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