Joomla 3.5: from 8-bit ASCII to full Unicode
From a historical point of view, in computing, we can testify how character representation has evolved. Since the basic binary encoding of 0s and 1s, each bit has added more expressiveness. Today, Joomla 3.5 is here to introduce the current gold standard, full 4-byte Unicode (Utf8mb4).
From 8-bit ASCII
The ASCII code was the previous standard, widely publicized by the PC, which forced us to codify our local chracters and type them in very ingenious ways. I still remember from 90s, when there was no Internet, and writing special letters from the ASCII table was an occult science (especially for those who did not have Spanish keyboards). It has only 256 characters and experimenting with special meta-characters was part of the occultism for those initiated in ASCII.
Full Unicode and Emojis arrived
But, these are different times and today the current Unicode standard has 4 bytes. In this era of millennials, even Emojis must be represented in the character table.
Joomla 3.5 comes with full 4-byte Unicode support and it is now available for all who have upgraded to Joomla 3.5 on a server with modern specifications. Specifically, you must have:
- MySQL server version 5.5.3 or higher (including all 10.x versions of MariaDB).
- MySQL client libraries version 5.5.3 or higher. If you’re using mysqlnd, 5.0.9 or higher.
Additionally, it is always advisable to have a stable version of PHP and updated to PHP 5.5 or higher.
Ok, but how I can check if I have full Unicode and Emojis
Simply, upgrade to Joomla 3.5 and create an article with Emojis. To test, please, check this sample table with Emoji characters to copy-paste: Full Emoji Data.
Tips to consider
Many sites are still not updated to Joomla 3.5 and many servers still work in MySQL 5.1 sites (not filling the minimum requirements).
Finally, Joomla 3.5 established definitions for full Unicodesupport and migrated the core database and tables. Now, the rest of the community extensions must follow the path to support full Unicode. If an extension in your site cannot represent full Unicode or Emojis, you must upgrade to the latest version or ask to extension support when it will be available.