The three stages of grief^H^H^H^H^Hcollation

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2007/04/13 06:32 -04:00, original URI:

Just as there are stages to grief, it seems there are stages to support of collation in both product and platform....

STAGE #1: IGNORANCE (a.k.a. Denial)

This first stage has one just going and doing as one pleases, adding language sorts and fixing bugs (and occasionally even removing sorts, e.g. Lithuanian Classic!). It is characterized by being a real problem for people trying to use the support for indexing of data where the indexes span versions, especially as real world requirements of collation start breaking those expectations and people in the stage find themselves arguing for retaining the wrong answer even if it makes their product appear wrong in the eyes of customers and partners (or where the laws of God and Unicode are flouted!).

STAGE #2: THE BACKLASH (a.k.a. Anger/Bargaining)

The fear created when people realize the consequences that the ignorance of Stage #1 has caused them leads to a sing of the pendulum that is too far in the other direction. Suddenly every version has to be identical. This of course leads to a whole new set of problems like support for collating Hindi running on .NET 1.0/1.1 in Windows 98 even though the fonts are not there, or collation support in Jet or SQL that can be so far out of date that the bugs and limitations on use keep piling up to the ceiling.

STAGE #3: MATURITY (a.k.a. Acceptance)

This is the stage where one balances the need for stability with the need for handling the dynamic nature of human language, user expectations, and increased support across versions. Whether one simply accepts re-indexing as a reality or adds versioning schemes so results can be consistently reached even as issues are addressed in the future, there is some plan (or even multiple plans) in place.

Unfortunately, even as a platform reached stage #3 (where Windows is in the position to be starting with Windows Server 2003), many clients can be running with the assumptions of Stage #2 or even Stage #1. So there is a constant battle to try to bring people to that third stage....

And that is why Sorting It All Out is here -- to try to bring people through this process intact! :-)


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referenced by

2008/05/07 Four exceptions to prove the rule

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