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IDN Laboratory Test Design Plans

The comment period ends on 19 December 2006 at 12:00 UTC.

Following the engagement of Autonomica AB, as announced on 19 October 2006, ICANN is pleased to provide more detailed information about the IDN test plans.

The IDN testing plans are divided into two phases. The first phase includes laboratory testing that is designed to clarify and document any issues that may arise, if any, when inserting puny-code strings representing top level domains into the root zone. The second phase is an expansion of the laboratory test and will function as a pre-deployment testing primarily for application and user-interface testing.

In relation to the laboratory test ICANN is pleased to make the draft laboratory test design available as developed by Autonomica. The test will include insertion of punycode strings into a replication of the root zone in a laboratory environment.

The draft design can be found here [PDF, 58K].

Appendix A to the test design contains a list of those punycode strings that will be used in this test. The Presidents Advisory Committee for IDNs (IDN-PAC) developed the criteria for creation of the test strings. A working group was formed following the Morocco IDN-PAC meeting in June 2006. The working group developed the supporting documentation available here [PDF, 515K]. The result of the working groups work is the list of punycode strings that was provided to Autonomica AB for the laboratory test.

Looking forward consultation with the IDN-PAC, the RSSAC, and other parts of the technical community in relation to the phase two of the technical test work. ICANN will provide reports on this work as material is being developed.

ICANN invites the community to provide comments on the test design supplied by Autonomica. At this early stage, Autonomica has performed a feasibility test based on the draft design plans. The result of the feasibility test was successful, i.e. there were no deleterious effects seen due to insertion of punycode strings into simulated root zone. After the public comment period is over, a final version of the test design will be published after which the complete testing will be conducted.

ICANN also invites those wishing to do so to replicate the prescribed test. Any results provided to ICANN of such work will be made publicly available at http://www.icann.org. In addition any IDN related information is available through the corresponding RSS feed, which can be found together with all IDN announcement at: http://icann.org/topics/idn/

Send comments on the Autonomica draft test design to idn-tests-comments@icann.org

View comments provided on the Autonomica draft test design at http://forum.icann.org/lists/idn-tests-comments/

The comment period ends on 19 December 2006 at 12:00 UTC.


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Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as""icann.org"" is not an IDN."