W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-international@w3.org > October to December 2001

RE: valid locales ---> was Re: bilingual websites

From: Barry Caplan <bcaplan@i18n.com>
Date: Wed, 07 Nov 2001 17:00:17 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: Peter_Constable@sil.org, www-international@w3.org
Peter -

Without claiming that the existing locale functionality is implemented 
well, I will say that it is incomplete at best. And it would remain 
incomplete even if it fully and exactly duplicated the OS regional settings.

I say this because there is a huge assumption that is never clearly stated 
- that one "locale" is sufficient at any given time. But it is easy to 
conceive of an app (but difficult to implement) where some elements use one 
locale, and other elements use another. In particular the text of the GUI 
widgets (as it were) may support one locale and the data that is 
manipulated using those widgets another.

E.g, in an accounting program for North America, I might need the GUI to be 
either English or French, and the functionality to support US or Canadian 
style accounting. Surely at least 3 of the 4 pairs of those 2 items would 
be required for the product (French/US being the unlikely one).

In this sense, I call the 2 locales "orthogonal" to each other. Once I made 
the conceptual leap from one locale to 2 orthogonal ones, it is easy to 
imagine that there may be n orthogonal locales, where n >=1, for any given 

Once we all make this leap, we can start making useful decisions about how 
to present useable choices to the user that reflect the true requirements 
of the app and the user, not the incorrect and/or incomplete assumptions of 
the OS.

At 03:27 PM 11/7/2001 -0600, Peter_Constable@sil.org wrote:

>On 11/07/2001 10:13:03 AM Barry Caplan wrote:
> >Now, does every application need to duplicate that functionality?
> >Personally, I think some apps should, and some shouldn't. Even if they do,
> >would they be able to do a better job? What locales settings are available
> >in browsers are not exactly beacons of usability either.
>Can you provide an example of why a browser needs to provide *any* locale 
>settings? Why shouldn't it just inherit locale settings for the given user 
>that have been specified at the system level?
>- Peter
>Peter Constable
>Non-Roman Script Initiative, SIL International
>7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd., Dallas, TX 75236, USA
>Tel: +1 972 708 7485
>E-mail: <peter_constable@sil.org>
Received on Wednesday, 7 November 2001 20:01:32 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 22:40:45 UTC