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IDNs and Browsers

IDNs and Browsers

For many people, the browser is the essential and principal human interface to the Internet. Because of this, IDN support in browsers is essential.

Support for IDNs in major commercial browsers is excellent. In the past, a browser was a separate piece of software (an “application”) that made requests of web servers and rendered the results of those requests on a display. Today’s browser appears in cars, on tablets, on watches and in settings that wouldn’t have been imagined ten years ago. Even so, IDN support remains crucial. In today’s Internet, a human uses a piece of software to dynamically interact with services and content, and to act as a go-between between complex software, content and people. That we call such a tool a ‘browser’ is more of a nod to the history of the Internet than a reflection of what that tool actually does.

If IDNs are to be usable everywhere, then the marketplace’s emphasis on portability and size needs to also reflect acceptance of IDNs. In particular, smartphone, tablets, e-readers and other portable devices should show the same progress in accepting, using and displaying IDNs as desktops and laptops do.