Test results: IDN display for RTL scripts

These tests check whether a user agent displays IDNs (Internationalized Domain Names) as Unicode, punycode or otherwise in the status bar for right-to-left scripts. User agents that try to detect possible homograph attacks do so in different ways. These tests explore some of those approaches. To some extent these tests are like the more general tests of IDN support, but they also introduce IDNs that are explicitly prohibited in the IDNA specification in the context of right-to-left scripts.

Summary & conclusions

See the results below for user agents tested. This section summarizes the results of those tests.

All the browsers except Firefox display the basic tests and legal mixture of numbers and RTL characters (where the number is not at the beginning/end of the label) as Unicode. For the illegal combinations, IE7 and Safari produce no display at all, while Opera displays an illegal-url message.

Firefox displays punycode in the status bar when you mouse over the basic tests and the legal number mix tests. This is strange, since .museum is on the list of supported TLDs, so you would expect to see Unicode. The illegal IDNs, however, are displayed, and displayed as Unicode. This is not what one might expect.

The behaviour of the various user agents was also noted when you click on an illegal link. In the case of IE7 and Safari clicking produces no effect. For Opera, it causes the display of an error message: "The URL http://example.עברית123.museum contains characters that are not valid in the location they are found." Firefox displays a "Server not found" message.

Latest results

The following user agents were tested on Windows XP and Mac OS X.

At the time the tests were run, both the Firefox and the Opera whitelists supported the .museum TLD. Both Arabic and Hebrew were present in Safari's default script whitelist.

The columns represent user agents tested on a given version and date. The cells contain P if the test to the left produced punycode and a hyphen if the test produced Unicode characters in the status bar.

Basic test

IE7 Firefox Opera Safari 9.10 2.0.1
20070327 20070327 20070327 20070324
العربية.museum - P - -
עברית.museum - P - -

RTL and LTR characters mixed

IE7 Firefox Opera Safari 9.10 2.0.1
20070323 20070323 20070323 20070324
العربيةascii.museum no display - illegal-url message -
עבריתascii.museum no display - illegal-url message -

RTL characters mixed with numbers

IE7 Firefox Opera Safari 9.10 2.0.1
20070323 20070323 20070323 20070324
العربية123العربية.museum - P - -
עברית123עברית.museum - P - -
العربية٤٥٦العربية.museum - P - -
العربية۴۵۶العربية.museum - P - -
العربية123.museum no display - illegal-url message -
עברית123.museum no display - illegal-url message -
العربية٤٥٦.museum no display - illegal-url message -
العربية۴۵۶.museum no display - illegal-url message -