looking up domain names with unassigned code points

Shawn Steele Shawn.Steele at microsoft.com
Fri May 9 22:34:26 CEST 2008

> I've changed the Subject. I'm not sure, but you (and Mark) may have
> misinterpreted my email. In my opinion, it's a good thing that MSIE7
> refuses to look up Unicode labels with unassigned code points, but
> it's bad that it also refuses to look up Punycode labels that encode
> unassigned code points.

What's the difference?  I really don't expect links to be punycode, and noone's going to enter them that way, so it seems much more interesting to look up recently added (after 3.2) unicode code points.

> There seem to be at least 2 camps with regard to the unassigned issue:
> those that want to allow such lookups, so that "old" clients continue
> to "work" when newly assigned code points are used

But it takes FOREVER for updates and service packs to trickle down to the end user for things like IE.  In the meantime the person with the "new" domain name can't be guaranteed that it works for anyone.  Windows update gets a lot, but many times its turned off or whatnot, so we can't assume that an update is "easy".  This is particularly true in the mobile device space.  Of course if there aren't fonts or rendering support that's an entirely different matter, but we support lots of stuff that's post 3.2.

> Now that I have proposed that clients should be allowed to look up
> Punycode labels, we may have some individuals move from one camp to
> the other, or to an entirely new camp?

I don't see how looking up punycode is interesting or useful, particularly if Unicode lookup is disallowed for the same code points.  Certainly if I get a business card, it won't have the punycode address on it, so its irrelevent if I can look it up.  If a business wants a fallback from IDN I'm sure they'll register and ASCII name as well.

- Shawn

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