draft-phillips-langtags-08, process, sp ecifications, "stability", and extensions

Dave Singer singer at apple.com
Thu Jan 6 20:51:10 CET 2005

At 11:34 AM -0800 1/6/05, Peter Constable wrote:
>  > From: Dave Singer [mailto:singer at apple.com]
>>  >This is similar to the reason why the language code comes before the
>>  >code. If we had the order CH-fr, then we could end up mixing French
>>  >German in the same page, because we would fall back (for one of the
>>  >sources) from CH-fr to CH, which could be German.
>>  It has to be application-specific which fallback happens.  If the
>>  user says he's swiss french, and the the content has alternative
>>  offers for swiss german or french french, which do you present?  If
>>  the content actually differs for legal or geographic reasons ('the
>>  legal representative in your country is', 'for copyright reasons this
>>  edition differs in material ways from other countries'), then the
>>  correct country but wrong language is the best answer.  If the desire
>>  is simply for maximum intelligibility, then the reverse is true.
>But that is a level of decision making that goes well beyond any
>algorithm that simply uses truncation of tags, which is the only case in
>which the ordering of sub-tags matters.

Sorry, I should have gone on to conclude:  the important aspect of 
sub-tags is that their nature and purpose be identifiable and 
explained (e.g. that this is a country code), and that we retain 
compatibility with previous specifications.  This tagging uses order 
(and size) of sub-tags rather than explicit labels to say what 
something is, and we're stuck with that.  I don't believe that simple 
truncation is a necessarily useful operation in all circumstances, 
and it probably should not be in the spec. at all.  For example, I'd 
say that we should retain the 3066 ordering of language-country and 
therefore script, if needed, comes later.  However, my typesetting 
subsystem doesn't care a jot about language or country, it just needs 
to find the script code ('can I render this script'?).

This spec. should unambiguously allow me to extract the language, 
country, script etc., should say under what circumstances two 
sub-tags of any type match, state the obvious that two tags exactly 
match if they have the same sub-tags and they all match, that partial 
perfect matches (of tags with differing numbers of sub-tags) are 
possible and may be applicable, and that the use of imperfect matches 
(in which not all sub-tags match) has to be application-specific. 
Examples of why on the latter would be helpful.
David Singer
Apple Computer/QuickTime

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