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Q: IDN - Internationalized Domain Names: Is Microsoft working on a solution for IE? ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: IDN - Internationalized Domain Names: Is Microsoft working on a solution for IE?
Category: Computers > Internet
Asked by: polidias-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 06 Oct 2004 12:47 PDT
Expires: 05 Nov 2004 11:47 PST
Question ID: 411171
IDN - Domain names written in foreign languages, are available since
February 2004. A standard called punnycode has been adopted by the
official Internet authorities. See also; Whereas Netscape 7.1
recognizes IDN's, the Microsoft IE still needs a converter add-in
called i-Nav (see issued by Verisign. Question: Is
Microsoft working on a IE inherent solution in order to make the use
easier? When will it be distributed?

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 03 Nov 2004 06:48 PST
Microsoft has already made some small modifications to IE to
accomodate IDN, and is working on further IDN modifications to IE, but
I have not seen any information regarding a date as to when these new
features might be introduced.

Would a summary of the available information on IDN's and IE be an
acceptable answer to your question, even without any information on
dates of distribution for these features?

Let me know.


Clarification of Question by polidias-ga on 03 Nov 2004 07:22 PST
Yes, pafalafa, that would be good enough, if the informations come
from official Microsoft resources or at least from respected IT

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 03 Nov 2004 08:34 PST
Thanks.  I'll pull together the information I have and search out a
bit more,  and I should be able to let you know what I find later

Subject: Re: IDN - Internationalized Domain Names: Is Microsoft working on a solution for IE?
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 03 Nov 2004 12:28 PST
Hello polidias-ga.

Thanks for getting back to me on this.

There are a few credible references to work that Microsoft has done --
and is anticipating doing -- to make their products more IDN-friendly.
 However, there's virtually no detail about it directly from Microsoft
themselves...I suppose they'll tell us when they're good and ready.

I've inlcuded a number of relevant links and excerpts below.

Before rating this answer, please let me know if you need any
additional information.   Just post a Request for Clarification, and
I'll be happy to assist you further.

All the best, 



For starters, there's a good overview article on IDN (but without any
insight into Microsoft IE) from the Swiss Education & Research
IDN - Domain Names with Accents and Umlauts


[This anouncment from Verisign in 2001 includes information about
Microsoft modifying IE 5.0 in order to allow for handling of IDN's by
bouncing them to a RealNames server for interpretation]:
VeriSign Announces Breakthrough in Web Navigation For Tens of Millions
of Users Worldwide

Users can now reach Web sites via domain names in their own languages
through Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0

Mountain View, California, June 20, 2001-VeriSign, Inc. (Nasdaq:
VRSN), the leading provider of Internet trust services, today
announced that Internet users can now reach Web site destinations by
typing domain names with characters used in their own languages into
their Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher browser software.
These Internationalized Domain Names, or IDNs, contain non-ASCII
characters to the left of the "dot" and are available in more than 350
languages. Using technology from RealNames Corporation, Microsoft
modified a search function of Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 to
enable the IDNs to work without the use of special plug-ins or client

..."As a global company with a global vision, Microsoft continually
looks for ways to make the Internet easier to navigate for everyone --
whatever the native language," said Bill Bliss, general manager of
Search and Navigation Services at Microsoft Corp. "By modifying MSN
Search to let users directly access internationalized domain names,
Microsoft is helping to deliver the truly international Web."


[This link doesn't discuss IDN per se, but it does show Microsoft's
attention to the issue of foreign language characters in domain

Internet Explorer Parses Certain DBCS Domain Names Incorrectly

Last Review : November 26, 2003 

When you use Internet Explorer to browse a Web site whose domain name
contains certain double-byte character set (DBCS) characters, the
domain name may be parsed incorrectly and you may receive a "cannot
find server" error message.

A supported fix is now available from Microsoft...

[the fix is discussed a bit more at this link]:

Problem: Internet Explorer parses certain double-byte character set
domain names incorrectly. This may affect Chinese, Japanese, and
Korean domain names. According to Microsoft, this issue only affects
certain versions of IE.

Solution: If you think you are experiencing this problem check out
this article on Microsoft's Web site.


[A recent article mentions Microsoft's "announced plans" to modify
future versions of IE to allow for more IDN, but a thorough search of
Microsoft's literature did not turn up any such announcements -- I
suspect the magazine might have gotten some off-the-record scoop on

NETWORK Magazine


Internationalized Domain Names

...The Internet is becoming increasingly international, accessed by
people who speak a wide variety of different languages. However, the
character set used by DNS and other core protocols hasn't kept up.
This must change if IP technology is to reach broader acceptance among
non-English-speaking audiences, and breaking the Internet's dependency
on seven-bit ASCII is a good place to start. One critical advance
toward this objective was made last year when the IETF published
"Internationalizing Domain Names in Applications (IDNA)" (RFC 3490).
IDNA specifies the use of Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) to
display characters from foreign languages and alphabets.

.....To date, few applications have implemented IDNA's transformation
service. Among those that have, the implementations have been of
variable quality and aren't always complete.

...For example, the Web browser component of Mozilla 1.6 offers
support for IDNA-to-ASCII conversion, but not the reverse: It will
accept and process an IDN entered into the URL bar, but won't display
the rich form of one reached through a hyperlink. Mozilla's e-mail
client offers no support, so users can't enter an e-mail address
containing an IDN. Recent versions of Opera and Konqueror offer pretty
good support, although both still include some minor bugs.

...Microsoft doesn't currently offer IDNA support for either Internet
Explorer or Outlook, but has announced plans to implement it in future


[Another link that doesn't mention IDN's, but shows Microsoft's early
attention to this issue]:
Microsoft Global Input Method Editors (IMEs)

Published: March 18, 1999

...International communication keeps getting easier thanks to
full-featured, high-performance IMEs. An IME is a program that allows
computer users to enter complex characters and symbols, such as
Japanese characters, using a standard keyboard. Microsoft is now
offering two Global IMEs?Global IME 5.02 and Global IME for Office XP.

....With Global IME, a business based in New York could use its U.S.
version of the browser to send messages in Korean to an overseas
affiliate. And a student attending classes in Paris could write
documents in Japanese.


[A discussion of penetration timing if an when IE is made more IDN-friendly]:
July 2002 
Transitional Reflexive ACE  IDN Transition (IDNX) 

3.1 Lengthy Transition & User Confusion 
   A key concern with respect to a purebred client approach to IDN is 
   that there are simply no efficient or effective means to distribute 
   the client plug-ins. 
   Even if we assume that a dominant software provider, such as 
   Microsoft, with their penetration into the browser and email client 
   market, was to introduce a new version of its Internet Explorer and 
   Outlook line of products with the IDNA client built in, it will still 
   take a considerable amount of time before these new versions reach 
   the majority of desktops around the Internet. 


[And finally, the recent, -+formal RFC on IDN's, along with author
contact information, in case your in a corresponding mood]:
Internationalizing Domain Names in Applications (IDNA)

April 14, 2004                                                     
Authors' Addresses

   Patrik Faltstrom
   Cisco Systems
   Arstaangsvagen 31 J
   S-117 43 Stockholm  Sweden


   Paul Hoffman
   Internet Mail Consortium and VPN Consortium
   127 Segre Place
   Santa Cruz, CA  95060  USA


   Adam M. Costello
   University of California, Berkeley



Hope that meets your needs.  But as I said above, if you need any more
information, just holler.


search strategy:  Searched Google and several newspaper databases for:

IDN microsoft ie

IDNA microsoft ie

internationalized microsoft ie

Request for Answer Clarification by polidias-ga on 04 Nov 2004 01:40 PST
Would you be able to ask Microsoft through their official channels,
wherever this is, and provide me with the link / reference in order to
verify / get their official statement? That would be great!

Clarification of Answer by pafalafa-ga on 04 Nov 2004 04:37 PST
Hello again.

I checked back with Microsoft, and was referred to two links for
additional information.

The first is this Q&A page on IDN and IE:;en-us;842848

which says, in part:

An IDN is a domain name that uses non-ASCII characters. By using IDNs,
users and companies can create domain names in their native language.
The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) published the IDN standard
in March 2004. For additional information about IDNs, visit the
following Web site to view IETF Request For Comment (RFC) 3490:

Internet Explorer does not currently support IDNs, but we are
investigating the integration of IDN support in Internet Explorer and
in other Microsoft products.

I guess that's as close as you'll get to an "official" announcement --
they're "investigating" the issue.

Another link provides a host of detail about Microsoft's interest
interest in the whole internationalization issue, but I did not see
anything that specifically addressed steps they are taking in IE:
23rd. International Unicode Conference (2003)

In particular, the presentations on:

IDN and IRI, Finally an Internationalized Solution to Domain Name and
Resource Identifiers


Supplementary Character Support in Microsoft Products

are closest to your topic.  But again, Microsoft did not point me to
any direct references of an announcement in these papers about the
future of IDN and IE.

Hope that does the trick, but as always, let me know if you need any
additional information.

There are no comments at this time.

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