Just because Microsoft does not document all the standards it works with does not mean it is uncaron

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/02/04 04:46 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2008/02/04/7421975.aspx

Reader Georges asked the other day via the Contact link:

Do you have a list of the national standards supported by the various collations that Windows and SQL Server and .NET support?

And similarly, regular reader Ivan Petrov asked in the Suggestion Box:

Hi Michael,

Do you have a list with the supported Keyboard layouts by Windows and the corresponding standard documents in which they are defined with their full document numbers and titles ?

I mean national standards like ANSI (US), DIN (DE), GOST (RU) and etc. or any other Standards like ISO, EN and etc. or Norm documents .

I will be very grateful to you if you post such a list as attachment to a post.


Funny having two such similar questions in two areas so completely different from each other, no? :-)

The answer is really the same for both questions (fortunately or unfortunately, depending on your point of view)....

And that is no such list really exists.

Both keyboards and collations are attempts by Microsoft to capture language and market requirements and include them in Windows, and although standards are an important source of inspiration for each, the connection between them is seldom so complete that one could really claim that they are 100% implementations (as an example, some National collation standards tend to specify behavior for punctuation as well as language, while Windows does not tend to change its punctuation-specific behavior for individual locales).

Also (and this is me just speculating), if we documented such a direct connection via a compliance claim, Microsoft could be required to break its own stability guarantees regarding results anytime there was such a difference between the MS implementation and the one in the standard -- and changes in the standard would lead to new sorts and keyboards being needed whether they are used in country or nor....

Instead by using standards as "important, knowledgeable informants" to be considered alongside other sources of information, the appropriate distance is kept that allows the unique technical factors affecting Microsoft platforms to be taken into account without leading to conformance problems....

In addition, I am kind of being polite by implying that National standards for keyboards and collation differ from Microsoft only in such details and that they are completely valid descriptions with no problems in them; there are definitely times where (were I a less polite version of myself) I could easily start blasting countries or regions for flaws within their standards, causing all sorts of incidents.

And of course there are the times (especially in keyboards, especially with MSKLC available) that a government standard is the source for the layout that we ship which differs from their actual standard in some way (we do not do compliance testing on such things since of course it isn't our job to make sure they are following their own standards in such cases!), and putting direct connections on a web page (even a non-official page such as blogs are!) could easily get Microsoft into an uncomfortable support situation.

So I apologize to both Ivan and Georges for not having such lists (or similar lists for code pages that I to put up here). Sometimes the best way to not find oneself holding onto something nasty is to not pick it up in the first place....


This post brought to you by dž (U+01c6, aka LATIN SMALL LETTER DZ WITH CARON)

Ivan Petrov on 4 Feb 2008 8:03 AM:

Hi again Michael,

Thanks for the quick answer!

OK, I understand you very well Michael, but could you post some of the known standard documents with their full document numbers and titles for the main Keyboard layouts like US, UK, DE and etc., please.

I don't want all, but some, please.

If it is possible show us these standard documents which are best defined and structured as a keyboard layout standard in your opinion!

Thank you in advance.



Michael S. Kaplan on 4 Feb 2008 9:11 AM:

Um, sorry -- there are all kinds of good reasons for an employee of Microsoft to NOT do this, for the reasons given in the post. So if someone ever does this, it ain't gonna be me -- I have enough people who'd like to see me gone without giving them ammo!

Michael S. Kaplan on 4 Feb 2008 9:48 AM:

(And that assumes I even had the info, which to be frank I don't!)

Ivan Petrov on 4 Feb 2008 3:38 PM:

That's OK Michael,

But I need to find and examine the structure of such standards. 3 of them are enough for me!

So the question is where I must search to find them for example the US Keyboard layout? Is it an ANSI standard or ... ?

Just tell us 3 Standard documents with their full number and titles, please. They're not a secret after all, they're public standards, so I'm asking only for their numbers and full names, not for the standards themselves. I'll buy them, just point us 3 of them.

It's not a pain to die from, isn't it!?



Michael S. Kaplan on 4 Feb 2008 3:45 PM:

Um, I do not know the answer -- you are asking me for something that I have no idea how to get and am not really all that certain that even exists in some cases (as I pointed out it is not what we usually work from).

You are assuming there exist such standards, I tend to doubt that they do. But can you explain what you are trying to do, exactly? Perhaps it is more likely that you would be satisfied with the answer I would gibe if I understood the requirements behind the question (since the answer devoid of that context is not seeming to please you!).

Ivan Petrov on 4 Feb 2008 4:56 PM:

Certainly I will explain Michael,

We're trying to make a Bulgarian national standard for our computer keyboard layout(s) because we don't have one! So I'm searching for standards of other countries or organizations about widespread keyboard layouts in use to see how are they defined, their structure and etc., so we can make a good Standard. I mean good by content, well structured and etc.

So this is why I'm searching for keyboard layouts standard documents with their full document numbers and titles!

If you could help, I'll be very grateful!

I was thinking that if you know so much about computer keyboard layouts, especially those for Windows, you may know something about this Standards, especially I know Microsoft prefer putting in Windows keyboard layouts defined in Standard documents, so you must know some of them, I think ....



Michael S. Kaplan on 5 Feb 2008 9:50 AM:

Me? Nah, I never work with them myself, I consider them to be illegible nonsense (case in point, the Canadian Multilingual keyboard layout, a great example of a document widely believed to be devoid of useful content).

I'll give my thoughts about the creation of such a standard in another blog sometime soon....

cheap shot on 8 Feb 2008 1:19 AM:

Microsoft does not adhere to any standards because (drum roll please!)







Microsoft makes its own standards :)))

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