Internationalization proposal: some comments...

Phillips, Addison addison at
Thu Jul 22 15:36:25 PDT 2010

4. The Collator doesn't include rule-based collation? Is that planned for the future?

Rule based collation is available for ICU only (as far as I know). We would need to get into agreement of rule format before we would add it to the API. And I am not sure there is a high demand for it, so it can be skipped for now.

AP> One thing I commonly do is modify the default collation to pay attention to spaces in (for example) book titles—the default collation ignores spaces. I’ll admit that usually rule-based collator is a low-demand feature, but when you need it, it is really handy.

5. I know that other APIs are planned for the future, but message and number format are equally (often more) important than dates. I wouldn't want them omitted in an initial implementation.

We will add number/currency formatting, we just felt it would clutter the proposal at this stage.
As for message formatting and plural handing:
- Placeholder replacement in messages is pretty simple to implement in Javascript as it doesn't require any data or complex algorithms, but it could be part of the API.

AP> Placeholder replacement is simple. What’s more interesting is the ability to format the placed value (Object->String transition). MessageFormat in ICU (Java or C) provides a convenient way to control the formatter used when placing an object into a string, and in a detailed way without much---sometimes any---code. It isn’t MessageFormat per-se that’s the issue, it’s marshalling of the underlying formatters.

- Plural handling is a harder problem. We would need to agree on the format for the messages to be passed to the plural formatter, which may take long time.

AP> It requires some thought, yes. But it is a common problem and should be worked on. Isn’t this what strawmen are for anyway? If nobody objects, they’ll get whatever design is provided :-). I mention message and plural handling together because they are often used together. A design that does both would be nice.

Best Regards,


Addison Phillips
Globalization Architect (Lab126)
Chair (W3C I18N, IETF IRI WGs)

Internationalization is not a feature.
It is an architecture.

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