Standardizing on IDNA 2003 in the URL Standard

Mark Davis ☕ mark at
Sat Aug 24 14:40:30 CEST 2013

​There's been a flurry of activity on this list. I'm on vacation, and won't
be able to respond much for a
​, b​
ut ​
​make just a couple of brief comments.

With reference to your comments below, I think that many people's views
have evolved in the last four years. I'm sure that Unicode Consortium would
be glad to work together on improving UTF46. As you say, we are in a bit of
a chicken and egg situation between registries and browsers, so a clearer
path forward to IDNA2008 would be great. (And in retrospect, I so wish that
IDNA2003 had been built along the IDNA2008 architecture—would have saved us
all so much pain!)

​The key is an effective
 transition plan
​ for #2/#3​
I put out some strawman ideas on this list, but clearly there needs to be
more discussion. I think everyone recognizes that we won't get to zero
"breaking" IDNA2003 URLs; the goal should be to get to a small enough
number that the major players feel comfortable flipping the switch on the
remaining ones.

Back on Sept 9.


John C Klensin <klensin at> wrote:

(7) IMO, UTR46 needs some work.  The suggestions above lay the
foundation for what I believe is the most important substantive
piece of that work, and complement Mark's recent notes.  I
believe that UTR46 is in need of serious discussion of when it
is plausible to shut off the "transition" machinery.  Mark's
recent notes provide most of the information and text that I
believe need to be in the spec itself.   It is almost trivial by
comparison, but I think it should contain some strong language
explaining why it is unreasonable to claim conformance with or
application of UTR46 without a statement as to which (if any)
transition mechanisms are being applied (e.g., whether a domain
name containing Eszett, ZWJ, or ZWNJ will be looked up or
changed into something else that the user didn't specify.  I'll
respond separately to some of the details of those notes, but
want to start with the observation that my thinking, at least,
has evolves considerably in the last three or four years and
that I think we are now quibbling about details rather than
having major disagreements.


Again, I see most of these issues as being more about details
and presentation than about fundamentals.  If Mark were
interested in forming a small editorial group to make changes
along the lines I've outlined, and thought it would be useful,
I'd be happy to join in the effort.


Mark <>
*— Il meglio è l’inimico del bene —*
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