As an English-speaking, South African developer, I craft all my work for an English-speaking audience. I rather, I would like to always do that, but unfortunately the harsh reality of commerce won’t let me – I need to craft things that will work for different languages under different character sets (and let’s just ignore the whole left to right and right to left thing!).

Unfortunately, as web development goes, the default for everything is the constrained Latin alphabet, which unfortunately is rather limiting in terms of the number of characters it allows for. And because of the nature of the Internet, unfortunately your home grown little applications seldomnly stick around for your natural language use only! A potential solution to this is of course to embrace multibyte character encodings, with UTF-8 going a long way in establishing itself as the encoding to work with in these situations.

Fantastic. Loads of documentation, lots of caveats to take into account and plenty of work to do.

So how about a little test string for your web development, one that will make sure your web application can handle the concept of Internationalization?

No problem, try this one from Sam Ruby on for size:


There, that should keep you on your developer toes! :)

internationalization many flags of the world flapping in the wind