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Cyrillic Coding
Elena Novitskaya

September 2, 2002
How to work with Russian texts on a non-Russified computer? The methods of solving production problems at the disposal of a computer user.

Problem description
It is necessary to create a Russian-language site. All resources are available: a computer, Internet connection, content and necessary knowledge and skills. Creating a template for pages was trouble-free, but as soon as there emerged a necessity to fill the template with content, a serious problem occurred. The entire body of the text copied from the text editor to html editor was displayed in the form of multiple interrogation marks instead of letters (when this text is entered directly in html editor, it is presented adequately). This phenomenon is known to be bound up with text coding, that is, with the difference in coding systems of editors.
The operating system is Windows 98, the English version. The computer is in the South Korea, the system has been installed by a Korean specialist who did not think about language needs of a future user. Luckily he has not installed the Korean version of Windows.
How can we solve this problem?

Specified description of the problem:
There is an electron version of a text. It loses its useful properties when copied from one program to another.
The main useful function of the system
is creating html-pages that would be comprehensible to Russian-language users.
Determining the operational zone:
The original text entered in Word (text editor) and the text replaced with interrogation marks in HomeSite (program for making up html-pages).
Operational time:
The time before the conflict includes entering, selecting and copying the text in Word. The time after the conflict is pasting the text from the buffer to HomeSite. The time of the conflict is somewhere between these two actions. It is covered from the user's sight.
Resources:
All the software of the computer, software available through Internet and on the problem solver's disks.
Ideal final result (the only needed):
Adequate display of letters.

We are using the Edisonian method trial and error method.
The first idea is to check the settings and to tune the program and the operating system so that the problem is solved. The attempt is in vain. The second idea is to use some other editor or editors. We have two programs with similar functions. Experiments with both of them are also ineffective.
Consultations with an available Russian specialist has not given a fast result except the information that it is necessary to reinstall Windows and to set the Russian page by default. This solution looks rather labor-intensive and has far-reaching effects.
Let us try to solve the problem by the dullest, primitive, extensive method. The text entered directly in HomeSite is displayed adequately, that is, we can re-enter the entire text. This will solve the problem but will take much time.
Both ideas solve the problem of information loss prevention in principle, but require much time for their realization.

Technical contradiction.
Let us formulate the contradiction:
Improving the parameter “Loss of information” causes inadmissible worsening of the parameter “Loss of time”.
We'll resolve this contradiction with the aid of the “Table of Contradiction-Resolving Principles by G. Altshuller”. At the crossing of the selected parameters, we find Principles 24, 28, and 35.

24 Use an “Intermediary” an intermediate object that transfers action, or add another, easy-to-remove object for a short while.
Concept 1: The concept consists in using an intermediate program which will “understand” the initial coding and will allow changing it to a coding comprehensible to HomeSite.

28 Replace a mechanical system (with an optical, acoustic, smell, electric, electromagnetic or magnetic one). Our system is already electronic!

35 Change the physico-chemical parameters of an object..
If we interpret this principle as a change of parameters in general, then we can propose the following Concept 2: to change the parameter “coding” of the original text. This concept has something in common with the previous one, but it is less specific.

The concept of using an intermediary claims our attention. To check it, we consult a specialist. Since our information resource includes the entire Internet, we apply to this resource through a search engine.
We have found first the description of the program and then the program itself UniPad (free download), which can serve as a kind of a buffer between the editors with different coding systems. 
 

We thank Pavel Gorodnyansky (http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/PaulGor/), who furnished us with necessary information.
We thank
Sharmahd Computing GmbH, which furnished us with the free program UniPad.
 

 

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Authors: Nikolay Shpakovsky, Elena Novitskaya