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Re: locales

From: Mark Davis <mark@macchiato.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Nov 2001 08:59:47 -0800
Message-ID: <008b01c16876$c61b6bc0$0c680b41@c1340594a>
To: "Suzanne M. Topping" <stopping@bizwonk.com>, <www-international@w3.org>, "Nelocsig \(E-mail\)" <nelocsig@yahoogroups.com>
I have some doubts as to this project along these lines. Currency and
Timezone are certainly orthogonal to what is currently thought of as a
locale. This does not mean that they are unimportant (in ICU we have always
had timezone support, and looking at the currency issue for our next release
(see http://oss.software.ibm.com/icu/ > Docs & Papers > design >
currency.html), but I have doubts as to one wants to call them part of a

What some people appear to want is some structured way to indicate and/or
communicate a raft of information about a client's preferences ("client" in
a broad sense -- maybe "user" would be a better term). That would presumably
include the traditional features of a locale, such as how dates are
formatted, but may also -- *depending on the application* -- include
currency, timezone, preferred character set, smoker/non-smoker, vegetarian
or not, music preference, religion, party affiliation, favorite charity,

Some of these can be bundled up with a textual shorthand, such as USD for US
dollar, or "en-US" for date/time/number/sorting conventions. Many people,
however, customize their settings -- I don't use the standard US dates on my
machines, I use the ISO 2001-12-31 style -- so the standard locales don't
and cannot convey that information.

Rather than some ad-hoc extension to "en-US-CAD-PTZ" to try to capture only
some clumsy fraction of this, what it really sounds like is desired is an
XML format for interchange "user preferences". With that, one could capture
things such as the fact that my normal date/time/number formats are en-US,
but that I want "YYYY-MM-DD" for dates. I suspect a good deal of this is
going on already in the many groups looking at XML interchange of business



Ὀλίγοι ἔμφονες πολλῶν ἀφρόνων φοβερώτεροι — Πλάτωνος
[For transliteration, see http://oss.software.ibm.com/cgi-bin/icu/tr]

----- Original Message -----
From: "Suzanne M. Topping" <stopping@bizwonk.com>
To: <www-international@w3.org>; "Nelocsig (E-mail)"
Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2001 07:23
Subject: RE: valid locales ---> was Re: bilingual websites

> Questions about this topic came up recently on another list, and caused
> me to wonder if it might be "better" to offer user selectable options
> for various locale-related functions, rather than trying to devise what
> individual preferences or requirements might be?
> For example, UIs could default to the language used by the operating
> system, and could start with "default" formatting etc. settings based on
> the OS as well. But perhaps for optimal user satisfaction, we should
> offer dropdowns next to date, time, currency, address, title etc. fields
> which would allow users to choose how they wanted data displayed, and
> have the formats changed on the fly.
> Thoughts?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Peter_Constable@sil.org [mailto:Peter_Constable@sil.org]
> Sent: Wednesday, November 07, 2001 9:16 AM
> To: www-international@w3.org
> Subject: Re: valid locales ---> was Re: bilingual websites
> On 10/31/2001 12:47:09 PM David_Possin@i2.com wrote:
> >So far we have ISO codes for language (I prefer language group) and for
> country
> >(I prefer region). But there is not standard definition that tells me
> which
> >combinations are valid. Therefore I assume that any combination is
> valid and
> >legal and can be used. WRONG!
> [snip]
> >Let me describe 2 simple workflows our customers require. A major
> online
> >bookseller wants to display the site in the user's language and the
> user's
> >currency... The bookseller wants to
> >offer Spanish titles with Mexican preferences in US dollars.
Received on Thursday, 8 November 2001 11:58:45 UTC

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