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.
BACKGROUNDFor 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.
MOVING FORWARDGoing 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 BEYONDFor 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!