By Peter Constable, Chair of the Unicode Technical Committee
At the Q4 Unicode Technical Committee (UTC) meeting held from
November 1-3, our member representatives unanimously agreed to a release plan
for 2023 and tentative plan for 2024. Along with some tooling updates, our plans
aim to ensure that we are more agile to meet the evolving internationalization
landscape and better able to meet the needs of Unicode members and other
consumers of the Standard.
More information can be found in the Release Management Group’s
Recommendations for 2023-2024.
For several years now, the UTC has worked on an annual cycle for
new versions of The Unicode Standard and related specifications. New versions
used to be released in March of each year, but in 2021, due to COVID-19, the
release was delayed until September.
Going forward, our plan is to continue with a new release each year
in September. That annual, predictable cycle works well for Unicode’s other
major projects—CLDR and ICU—and helps implementers in their planning.
In 2023, we will keep up that cadence with a September release, but
we also need to take some time to evaluate and update our processes for
developing each new version of the Standard.
Therefore, the 2023 release will be a “dot” release: Unicode 15.1.
It will include important updates to Unicode Standard Annexes and to the Unicode
Character Database, and have a limited set of new characters — but new scripts
and most other character additions will be held until the 2024 release. A major
new area is the planned release of a Unicode Technical Standard for avoiding
source-code spoofing, along with associated changes in other specifications.
Regarding emoji, if there are any new emoji in the 15.1 release,
they would leverage existing code points, as was done for the
13.1 release, rather than the addition of entirely new characters.
2024 AND BEYOND
For 2024, we anticipate returning to our regular cadence, with a
major release in September 2024. Unicode 16.0 will include additional new
scripts, emoji and other characters, as well as other updates.
Learn more about how you can support the Unicode Consortium and our mission, including information on our Adopt-a-Character program, here!