...If you are heavily involved in developing or integrating software for these markets, then this book is an essential reference work, fully worth its price.
This book is about handling Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese text in computers. These (widely differing) languages all use Chinese characters to a greater or lesser extent. The book supersedes the author's 'Understanding Japanese Information Processing' (1993), extending it to four languages and bringing it up to date with newer character set standards, especially Unicode.
This is a reference book. Over half the book consists of tables of thousands of characters, tabulating and cross-referencing character sets. There are very many useful and up-to-date citations - of Web pages, reference books, ISO and national standards. The text concentrates on the character handling, input and output and largely ignores small matters like date formats. It is extremely thorough. I cannot presume to check it all, but the few pages I checked in detail againstother works seemed correct: an enormous achievement for a work in five scripts with many tables of numbers and codes. This book corrects several minor mistakes in the 1993 book.
However, there are weaknesses. The index is eccentric: 'Vietnamese' and 'sorting' are out, 'Gulliver's Travels' and 'Star Wars' in! The book covers Japanese very well; Korean and Vietnamese not quite so well. At the end I was still not sure now essential it was to be able to use Chinese characters today in Korea or in Vietnam (each of which also has another script). Nevertheless, these are small defects compared with the whole.
If you are heavily involved in developing or integrating software for these markets, then this book is an essential reference work, fully worth its price. Highly recommended for such people and character-set buffs; too specialised for others.