As you may know, Moodle languages currently all define their own native encoding. It appears the future of text encoding on the web is Unicode, and specifically the UTF8 method of representing it, which is able to unify any language under a single encoding scheme.
For Moodle to properly support arbitrary multiple languages on one page (useful for language teaching among many other things) it seems likely that we will have to move over to a UTF8 framework eventually.
I've done a little research on this and I believe this would not be a trivial step. However, I'm still not sure exactly how hard it would be, so it would be useful to have a discussion here about what might be involved, as well as links to similar efforts in other projects.
To get us started, here are a few issues:
- browser support needs to be examined closely so that we know what people will be required to use with a UTF8-enabled Moodle. Are there problems? How would this affect accessibility?
- database support needs to be looked at too - I assume all storage will be in UTF8 - are there any issues with this with different database brands?
- every input would be converted into UTF8 automatically, which can be tricky. Do we use standard PHP functions or build our own?
- all display will be done in UTF8 natively - are there implications for the new template system?