W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > January 2015

Re: CSS Localization

From: Bjoern Hoehrmann <derhoermi@gmx.net>
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2015 05:05:20 +0100
To: "Tab Atkins Jr." <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Cc: Cameron Jones <cmhjones@gmail.com>, www-style list <www-style@w3.org>
Message-ID: <l4obbatbekfm21q8p7elegdkdr1oge5g6h@hive.bjoern.hoehrmann.de>
* Tab Atkins Jr. wrote:
>People using their own computer likely have it set up with the correct
>locale (definitely not always true, but I think true enough that we
>can consider most people in this category).  So they don't need any
>help from us; localized inputs will already be displaying "correctly"
>for them.
>
>This applies whether I'm visiting pages in my locale or not.  As an
>en-US speaker, I expect to see dates in the US format, and would find
>a German-locale date input confusing to work with, even on a German
>site.  (I've had occasion to buy train tickets on a French-only site,
>for example, which is confusing enough without dates looking wrong to
>me.)  So when I'm working on my own computers, letting the page set
>the locale of its inputs is actually harmful to me.
>
>The only case where help is needed is if someone doesn't control the
>locale of the computer they're using, [...]

That is not a valid conclusion. A typical setup around here is a german
operating system with an en-us web browser which in my case is set to
prefer generic "en" in the Accept-Language header in the hope to avoid
machine translations into german. I do not know what the browser might
think my preferred locale is for automatic localisation when visiting
en-gb or alternatively en-us sites, and I am sure it would be extremely
confusing if any automatic localisation is not immediately obvious and
understandable. "Mittwoch, 14. Januar 2015, 04:55 Uhr Berliner Zeit"
might be fine (if I unreasonably assume a site has no bugs with respect
to timezones and such), but for dates like "2015-12-01" or numbers like
"123,456" without additional context, I would have no idea what they
mean. Is it January or December, hundreds, or hundreds of thousands? Is
the page even using automatic localisation features, or am I looking at
things verbatim as the author entered them (and same if I were to enter
such inputs).

>I think the set of people that can be helped by this is smaller than
>the set of people who can be harmed, and the risk of sites applying
>this commonly is too great.  It's very easy to imagine it becoming
>"common wisdom" to set the page's CSS locale to the same as the HTML
>lang, which harms most people's ability to use foreign sites.

If not doing that is so obviously the right thing as you suggest, that
seems an unlikely outcome.

>Displaying data is different from setting the locale of inputs.  This
>proposal doesn't even attempt to do formatting of arbitrary data on
>the page.

The message that started this thread was clearly considering input and
output. What is clearly lacking though is clear differentation between
modes of input and output. Clearly a site does not need to control the
localisation of a browser-controlled date picker that reliably and un-
ambiguously conveys to the user how the site will interpret the input,
for instance.
-- 
Björn Höhrmann · mailto:bjoern@hoehrmann.de · http://bjoern.hoehrmann.de
D-10243 Berlin · PGP Pub. KeyID: 0xA4357E78 · http://www.bjoernsworld.de
 Available for hire in Berlin (early 2015)  · http://www.websitedev.de/ 
Received on Wednesday, 14 January 2015 04:05:52 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 25 March 2022 10:08:50 UTC