Investigating Software

Investigating Software

Monday, 23 November 2015

'No More ASCII' Firefox Add-on

Many of my clients have a multi-national (and multi-lingual) user base, and their software receives input from a range of devices, not just those configured to UK or US locales. The sites may also need to process and publish content that is 'non-ASCII'.

So when I'm quickly testing a website or web application, I need to investigate how they handle inputs from a multitude of locales, quickly.

That's why I created the No More ASCII, a Firefox Add-on, it has a set of stock text strings from a range of languages and scripts. These have been chosen for their widespread use around the world, as well as their ability to highlight deficiencies in many web-sites. For example these features of the scripts can cause problems for ASCII/poor-Unicode implementations:
  • Right To Left text  - Hebrew
  • Diacritics - Swedish
  • Non-Roman - Mandarin, Hindi etc.
The text strings may not make 'sense' as some are partial sentences or Monty Python quotes. They are aimed to have a selection of characters that may not be well encoded by your software.



Here is an example of a web site ( The Telegraph ) that doesn’t handle a Hebrew query of their articles very well:



Or take a look at the Firefox website. Queries for Mandarin Chinese characters return 'No results found.' But a search for Hindi script, returns 'Search is temporarily unavailable'. That looks like an issue i might want to investigate...



The free add-on is available to download now, and I hope to expand the list of languages/scripts available. Requests are welcome. Credit goes to Wikipedia and Omniglot for the text used.




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