What is an Umlaut domain?
In September 2009 the ICANN (=Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) agreed to the implementation of an improved existing addressing system in order to enable country-code top-level domains with umlauts and other non-Latin characters.
Although highly acclaimed by countries having umlauts in their native language, the change also implicates problems. If you don't use the native keyboard, it's very difficult to type non-Latin characters like Arabic or Cyrillic characters as well as typical German characters, such as umlauts or the eszett.
ASCII and Unicode – communication between computers
Since computers only understand numbers and not text, characters are encoded as numbers. The most common code for text files on computers is ASCII, but the problem with ASCII is, that there are only 127 characters available and the value range usable for printable characters is very limited; so umlauts or country-specific characters are not included in ASCII.
Unicode is an extended encoding system, were multiple bytes are used to represent characters. This means that fonts can contain several thousands of characters and Unicode fonts are available in languages like Greek, Hebrew, Chinese, German, English, Japanese and many more. They contain all the umlauts and other special characters.
Enter umlauts in domain names with ease
So Unicode makes it easy to type top-level domains using non-Latin-characters or special characters like the German umlauts.
However, entering Unicode characters without the matching keyboard can be tedious. This is where PopChar comes into play.
PopChar supports Unicode with thousands of characters available in many fonts. If a font contains Unicode characters, you can switch PopChar from ASCII mode to Unicode mode to see all of them, neatly arranged in the standard Unicode categories. It's easy to navigate through the Unicode characters by scrolling, or just to use the Unicode category menu to quickly jump to an arbitrary section. So PopChar is also great for typing top-level domains containing Hebrew, Greek and Arabic characters as well as typing German umlauts or the eszett, and furthermore.
Read more about the Mac version or the Windows version of PopChar here!