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ICANN Releases Toolkit to Ensure New Domains Recognized Online and in Software

May 2, 2007; 05:50 AM
ICANN has released a new ‘toolkit’ for website designers and software application developers so that new top-level domains (TLDs) created since 2001 are recognized in software and online applications.

“It wasn’t so long ago that .COM and .NET – the last bit of a domain name – were largely the only options for Internet users. Now, in addition to more than 240 country code TLDs, there are also .AERO, .BIZ, .CAT, .COOP, .INFO, .JOBS, .MOBI, .MUSEUM, .NAME, .PRO, .TEL, .TRAVEL. Another, .ASIA, is expected to be added shortly,” said Kim Davies, the Technical Liaison for the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), who helped design the toolkit. IANA is a function performed by ICANN.

“This choice is a good thing but some users of these new domains have had problems using e-commerce and other websites that don’t recognize some new top-level domains. That means email and website addresses from some of these TLDs get rejected as invalid,” Davies said.

“The toolkit helps fix that problem for Internet users by making sure software developers and application providers have the most up-to-date information about the Internet’s domain name system (DNS),” added Davies.

The ICANN toolkit also saves developers and site operators the expensive and time-consuming task of re-programming their systems each time a new top-level domain is added.

The code released by ICANN is easily inserted into existing programs or applications, and will automatically check the validity of an email address or URL against the authoritative DNS data, known as the “root-zone.” Once installed, no additional updates are necessary. Any changes will be automatically noted by the program. The program is now in its third Beta version and will be further improved based on feedback from users.

“In the long run, this will ensure that the addition of new TLDs will be as smooth as possible, and make sure all Internet users get full usability of their domain,” added Davies.

The tool is available for free download at

A page of additional resources is available at

The Domain Name System helps users find their way around the Internet. Every computer on the Internet has a unique address called its "IP address" (Internet Protocol address). Because IP addresses (which are strings of numbers) are hard to remember, the DNS allows a familiar string of letters (the "domain name") to be used instead. So rather than typing "," you can type The last portion of the domain name (in this case, .ORG) is known as the top-level domain.

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