Throwing a BRIC [with Diwali written on it] at Outlook, aka Attn. Outlook: There *is* an 'I' in BRIC

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/01/03 10:16 -05:00, original URI:

A little over a year ago (in On holiday? Outlook might try to tell you where....) I discussed various shortcomings in the Holiday support in Outlook, limitations that make it unsuitable as support for NLS in Windows to simply "pick up" as is. In passing, after noting that there were categories for Christan, Islamic, and Jewish holidays:

(And there are no other religious holiday categories listed in case you were curious.)

For years now people around Microsoft have heard about BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) and how important these countries are in terms of growth opportunities for computer hardware and software. Hell, just this last November our CEO Steve Ballmer was talking about how sales in BRIC countries were expected by the end of fiscal 2008 to be like triple what they were just three years ago (ref: Ballmer: The 'BRIC' Will Grow).

You probably know where I am going with this if the title didn't clue you in. :-)

Now there are no "Religious Holidays" categories for those who believe in Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, or Buddhism. That we know.

But who can forget the attack of the triumvirate of holidays (Christmas Day, Boxing Day, St. Stephen's Day) in Outlook I mentioned before:

so perhaps a holiday recognized by four major religions across India and Nepal (not to mention the rest of the world) would get something of a mention for India?

Well, don't bet heavy on it!

First we'll add the India locale holidays in the way I described (in Outlook 2003). I took the precaution of deleting all holidays, just to make sure we are starting from a clean slate:

Okay, we'll add them and then look at the list in Event view:

Well, we have Independence Day, Republic Day, and Gandhi Jayanti Day. But no Diwali. :-(

Maybe the problem was that I needed to be adding them in Outlook 2007. New versions are to fix bugs, right? :-)

My advice? Don't bet heavy on it....

First we'll add holidays again:

and say yes to the warning that we have already added the India Holidays:

and we'll look again in Event View:

Hmmm. No joy in Mudville or in India for Diwali, coming up later this year. :-(

It's funny, the other day in a mentioned in a comment about one of Amit Chaudhuri's short stories:

Two stories here are retellings--and quite personal interpretations--of episodes from the Hindi mythologies. An Infatuation is a retelling of an episode from the Ramayana, in which Lord Ram (often spelt Rama) is exiled to the forest for fourteen years because of a curse; he is accompanied by his brother Lakshman and his wife, Sita. Here, a rakkhoshi (the Bengali word for female rakkhosh, or rakshas in Hindi--a powerful demon), Surpanakha, falls in love with him and tries to seduce him. Ram plays along with her and then humiliates her, as the episode shows. She rushes to her brother Ravan, the king of demons, who will avenge her by abducting Ram's wife, Sita--thus setting in motion the main action of the Ramayana.

In Northern India, Diwali is for many all about when Rama returns from his fourteen year exile in the forest to his kingdom in Ayodhya. Everyone lit lamps (deepa) in rows (avali), thus Deepawali -- or Diwali. Makes me wonder how either Lord Ram or his brother would feel about the whole BRIC thing.

There are many other reasons that people celebrate the holiday in other religions and in other parts of India (for more info you can look at the Diwali article in Wikipedia here), and it is hard to argue that our coverage of holidays from Easter to Groundhog Day to Tax Day to Administrative Professional's Day in the US is really being given the same focus in BRIC, or at least in the I in BRIC.

I wonder what the next version will bring?

Now I already mentioned previously (ref: If you play with your gadget, there are all kinds of problems you can run into) how we seem to be missing this market in Windows a bit, like in the Stocks Gadget that doesn't recognize even one Exchange of the 22 major ones in India.

Perhaps by the time we make it to nine billion we'll start covering the markets at least as well as we cover our own in these ways designed to make our products feel more relevant in local markets?

Shouldn't our entry into new markets provide (in addition to any special support they need for their language or script or whatever) reasonable coverage of our basic support?


This post brought to you by(U+3291, aka CIRCLED IDEOGRAPH STOCK)

Daniel Cheng on 3 Jan 2008 7:11 PM:

㊑ (U+3291, aka CIRCLED IDEOGRAPH STOCK) is _NOT_ an ideograph for Stock.

Michael S. Kaplan on 3 Jan 2008 7:42 PM:

I know, I just liked the name, and wished I had used it for the other post, so I ended up using it here....

Jeroen Ruigrok van der Werven on 4 Jan 2008 4:38 AM:

Odd that the Netherlands has 'Boxing Day' since we call it 'tweede Kerstdag' (Second Christmas day).

Pavanaja U B on 4 Jan 2008 5:59 AM:

Yeah, I have noticed this lapse of Hindu holidays in Outlook long ago. Adding these holidays is not that easy. Because Hindu holidays don't follow Gregorian calendar's dates. Some of the Hindu festivals are as per Hindu solar calendar and some are based on Hindu lunar calendar. There are again plenty of them Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, Punjabi, etc. In fact when I used to cinduct the Bhasha workshops and used to give demos of Outllok 2003, one of the question was about lack of Hindu holidays. I used to give this answer.

FYI, Outlook 2003 Hindi version has the Hindu Saka calendar followed by Govt of India. It will show Hindu months in Hindi. I will send the screenshots, if you need.

Michael S. Kaplan on 4 Jan 2008 7:54 AM:

There is a post coming up about the calendar, never fear. :-)

This is a difficult problem, yes. But the whole issue with holidays is the various design flaws that make it incomplete and thus they have not been afraid of doing an incomplete job in the past.... so they should not be afraid to take a stab for the sake of an important market....

Diwali Greetings on 10 Oct 2009 12:38 AM:

Warm diwali wishes to your team

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referenced by

2010/11/16 "Crap, I didn't start Schedule+", [some of] why I still don't love Outlook, and other nostalgias

2008/05/08 Support of Holi^h^h^^hDAZE, in Outlook (aka Situations when competition might help customers)

2008/04/25 I Adar you! Hell, I Double Adar you!

2008/01/09 Oh (Saka to me, Saka to me, Saka to me, Saka to me) Whoa Babe (Just a little bit) A little respect (just a little bit)

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