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Since there will soon be Hebrew domain names, I'm wondering if the major browsers already have support for this built in, or whether we'll have to wait for a future release to visit our favorite Hebrew sites, such as יואלעלתוכנה.com?

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Markdown really doesn't deal with Hebrew well. – C. Ross Oct 30 '09 at 14:37
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Since IDN has been around for quite a while, I guess that all browser already support this.

For example: if your browser is able to deal with www.ίδρυματεχνολογίασέρευνασ.gr (which will translate to then it should also be able to deal with Hebrew domain names.

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Markdown indeed sucks dead bunnies when it comes to utf-8 domains. – innaM Oct 30 '09 at 14:53
Hebrew being slightly more complex than www.ίδρυματεχνολογίασέρευνασ.gr, given the right-to-left writing... – Arjan Nov 15 '09 at 22:46
Good point. Hadn't thought about that. – innaM Nov 16 '09 at 8:55

IE uses most of the same libraries as Windows itself, which has been fully unicode compatible since Windows NT.

Chrome is a new project, by browser standards, so it would be very short sighted if it wasn't.

Firefox is the only fully open source mainstream browser, so if it isn't compatible yet, it soon will be.

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It's not about Unicode per se. IDN needs translation from Unicode to punycode, which is a browser issue. (But indeed, most browsers already support that.) – Arjan Nov 15 '09 at 22:41

I wrote an article about this a while ago. Extract:

Safari decided to disable Cherokee, Cyrillic, and Greek scripts by default. These three scripts all have many Latin lookalike characters. This is well and good if you have a majority English-speaking audience, but not ideal for the rest of the world. And it certainly doesn't solve all the problems. Latin characters with unusual diacritics will still work, and some fonts leave out some of these diacritics, so that l and l-cedila may well look identical.

Opera, and later Firefox, took the position that this was a register issue: Internet registers should not allocate domains such as in the first place. These browser manufacturers maintain a whitelist of 'well behaved' registrars, who don't allow spoofing domains in their registry. For example, it would be impossible to register, because the .info registrar wouldn't allow it. Opera's whitelist of TLDs is built into the browser. Firefox's list is on display. It's worth noting that the most popular registrar, .com, allocates domains strictly on a first-come-first-served basis, with no checks at all. Therefore, IDNs in .com will not work in Opera or Firefox.

Google's new Chrome browser has IDNAs turned off by default.

Internet Explorer is, of course, more integrated with the operating system than most browsers are, so it checks what language supports are configured within Windows. If the script in the IDN is part of the user's configured accept language, the name will display as an IDNA. Otherwise, the punycode will be shown. However, when scripts are mixed (Cyrillic and Latin in the same label, for example), the punycode will be shown, even if Cyrillic (in our example) is usually accepted. Some scripts which look nothing like Latin are allowed to mix, as these don't present a threat.

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