Windows NT 3.1 was the first major operating system to support Unicode, and since then Windows NT 4, Windows 2000, and Windows XP have extended this support. Although a fully implemented Unicode application is not the only thing you need for ensuring a world-ready application, Unicode is a basic building block for other facets of globalization.
Though this chapter has presented a wide array of technical guidelines, there are several core issues to remember. First, if at all possible, it is best to use the UTF-16 coding schema to represent Unicode. However, there might be times-such as in cases involving data transmission and Web browser usage-that UTF-8 might need to be used. In addition, ensure your application handles Unicode supplementary characters by supporting surrogate pairs. Finally, if your application must run on both Unicode and non-Unicode-based Windows operating systems, MSLU helps you create a single Unicode-based application that can be run on both platforms.
By following this chapter's many other specific technical guidelines on creating Win32 Unicode applications, as well as using Unicode encodings in Web pages, in the .NET Framework, and in console or text-mode applications, you will be one step closer to creating a globalized, world-ready product.