Not supporting Unicode doesn't necessarily make them evil; it merely suggests the lesser sins of narow-mindedness and laziness

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/02/17 10:16 -05:00, original URI:

So the other day I noticed a friend of mine had added a My Blogs application to their facebook profile. I figured that with very small amount of facebook activities I do I needed way to fill my mini-feed without having to do actual work -- so something that would add my blog post every day would be awesome!

Unfortunately, it was neither platform double suede nor disco lemonade.

Because while facebook's mini-profile supports Unicode just fine, the My Blogs facebook application created by Space Program (a company with a facebook profile claiming they "...make cool stuff" and a website tagline claims that they focus on "...delivering extremely high quality products and services to make IT life easier") is not supporting Unicode. The screenshot:

Note the My Blogs application in the middle that puts question marks in for all of the non-CP_ACP characters, and the same entires in the mini-feed on the right that put the actual Unicode characters in.

And yes, the picture of me is my avatar, David Sim's delightful character Cerebus the aardvark. He is better looking than me, and has no smile issues since he never smiles!

Anyway, I am kind of torn at this point.

Should I give them a chance to fix this? You may have seen near the bottom of mu mini-feed that I gave them the feedback on this issue -- perhaps I should give them a chance to address the problem.

On the other hand, I could just make their application invisible while still letting the minifeed pick up the entries. It just seems kind of obnoxious to not give them some more profile space, without even seeing if they planned to do something here (if I hide them then when will I ever see their improvements!).

Not supporting Unicode does not make a company evil; it merely suggests the company is being narrow-minded.

And not doing so in a free application that will never make the authoring company much money also doesn't make a company evil; it merely suggests the company is being lazy.

To disprove both of those suggestions, we'll have to see if they address the inherent limitation in their facebook plug-in....

I've can wait to see if they step up here!

If they want help they can ask; As regular readers know, I am all about Unicode enabling!


This post brought to you by(U+2f25, KANGXI RADICAL WOMAN, though represented by its more attractive butt double that it is a compatibility form of, U+5973).

# Ben Cooke on 17 Feb 2008 2:09 PM:

I'm talking about this second-hand since I've never developed for the Facebook platform myself, but one of my collegues mentioned to me a few months back that the Facebook platform had suddenly started interpreting his app's UTF-8 output as windows-1252 despite the fact that it was declared in the headers as UTF-8.

I don't know if this is still a problem, but if they keep changing how facebook interprets app output it's little surprise that apps would end up doing strange things like this.

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