Fire the programmer (was: Re: Appeal to ISO 639 RA in support of Elfdalian)

Shawn Steele Shawn.Steele at
Fri Apr 29 20:09:30 CEST 2016

>    Your existing customers will not be affected if we introduce 5-letter subtags. They will not need them nor use them, they will continue to process documents with 2 or 3-letter tags, the bug will not bite them, and their life will be as beautiful as it was before.

Their server application will get a request for a tag it doesn't think conforms from a http accept language, and try to throw an exception, which is caught and it tries again (because it's a badly written app).  It causes a DOS attack on itself an no further requests work until someone comes to investigate.  At which point they have no clue so they restart the process and it works until that guy tries to connect again.  In the meantime you are unable to make your electronic bank payment for your mortgage (because the computer is stuck in this busy loop).

Regardless of whether the apps "need" them or intend to use them, we have no clue if these apps are going to "see" the tags.  Undoubtedly some will.  And some percentage of ill-behaved apps will fail.

To continue the vehicle analogy (I'm admittedly poor at analogies, so forgive any obvious flaws in it), it's like the traffic folks putting up a stop sign, but then planting a tree in front of it.  Sure, the stop sign's there and should be obeyed, but how many people are going to actually see it?

This group saying "we told you so, you should have written better code" won't solve the issue.

IMO, if 5 letter codes, or any codes that break existing patterns, are ever defined, we'd better have a really good reason.


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