Up until last week, Internet domain names were a pretty mature business. Then the folks at ICANN decided to shake things up by enabling non-Latin character ccTLDs (country code Top Level Domains – like .co.il and .co.uk ). What does that mean for you? Well, here’s a quick test. Try visiting this URL: http://موقع.وزارة-الأتصالات.مصر/.
What you’re looking at is an Internationalized Domain Name, or IDN for short. It doesn’t contain western or “Latin” letters, and chances are everything you know about URLs is about to get turned backwards (in this case, literally). What’s worse is that different browsers handle this kind of domain name differently, and there’s no one right answer.
Are you a software tester? Then your ship has come in because IDNs open up a whole new category of software bugs. Let’s take a look at a few big trouble areas, but hang on tight because this gets goofy fast.