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The Benefits of Unicode in Genealogy

Would you purchase a software unable to support punctuation and spaces?  Probably not.  The same principle applies to Unicode regarding a foreign language without its symbols and accents.

GenoPro has full support for Unicode.  The following is a list of the benefits of supporting Unicode in a Windows application.

#1. Reliability. In GenoPro 1.x, each family tree is bound to the code page (font) installed on the computer used to create the family tree. If you send your family tree to a friend using Windows in a different language, then your family tree is not readable. For instance, sending a French family tree to a Japanese user would produce Japanese characters instead of French accents. Unicode solves this problem. Do not worry, GenoPro 1.00 is no worse than Notepad, WordPad, or any Ms-Office product prior to 2000. If a user receives a family tree from a foreign language, then he/she has to select the language in the preferences dialog. Unicode does not require the user to select any language since it includes all of them.

Sample family tree with Russian and Chinese text#2. Displays multiple alphabets at once. If you are tracing your roots and find you have some ancestors or relatives living in a different country, you may have to type the family name or city name in the native language. For instance, the name "Tokyo" in Japan has a Japanese-equivalent name, but without Unicode, only "Tokyo" can be entered. With Unicode, the user can enter "Tokyo ()" where      is the Japanese name for Tokyo. If you have a relative who married someone in a foreign country, some family names may not use the Latin alphabet. GenoPro 1.x cannot mix language, you can select only one language (this is a limitation of Windows 9x), but with Unicode, GenoPro 2007 (and beyond) does not have this limitation.

#3. Search text and sort text according to the user locale (Control Panel).   Each language has its own exceptions, even those using the Latin character set (alphabet A-Z). For instance, in Spanish, any word starting with 'Ch' is treated as the letter 'C'. The 'ä' in German is really the two letters 'ae' together. So the word Bäcker should be between Baden and Bahn. The character 'ß' is actually the two letters 'ss' together. In Swedish, the 'Å' is stored after the 'Z' while in French, the 'Å' is treated like the regular letter 'A'. The number of exceptions is quite large. As you can see, sorting text is quite a problem without Unicode.  How do you sort a list of Chinese names? What about sorting English names, Japanese names and Greek names on the same list. Which one is first, what is the natural sort order? Well, Unicode knows how to do it. Many people do not care about accents, but they are very important for the language.  For instance, the word "cote" has 3 different meanings in French, depending on the accents.  The word "foret" has two meanings, and the list goes on.

cote - quotation
côte - rib
côté - side
forêt - forest
foret - drill

As you can see, ignoring the accents may lead to a complete different meaning.


GenoPro displaying a sorted list of names from different alphabets (Latin, Russian, Hebrew, Chinese and Japanese)The quality of GenoPro has significantly increased with the support of Unicode.  The following is a screenshot of the Table Layout displaying a sorted list of names from different alphabets, including Latin (English & French), Cyrillic (Russian), Hebrew, Chinese and Japanese.

 

 

 



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