So logical that even Mr. Spock (and my fiancée?) would approve

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/06/25 03:01 -04:00, original URI:

Regular readers may recall having seen the blog entitled Somehow I just get a Visual of the Logical Song (as sung by Supertramp) a few months ago.

Not everyone is convinced fully, just yet.

So I thought I'd add some more information to the mix....

Let's say you go to Regional and Language Options. I'm going to do it here in XP but you can use whatever version you like....

First change the Standards and Formats locale (aka default user locale) to Arabic - Saudi Arabia. Do not click Apply.

But do click that Customize... button and switch to the last tab (the Date tab):

Here is that same view we talked about before, where the logical and the visual varied.

So that dd/MM/yyyy seemed to look like yyyy/MM/dd in the right-to-left context.

Well let's go to the Numbers tab.

Change the Digit substitution setting from Context to National. This time you DO click Apply:

And now go back to the Date tab:

do you see it -- the context of the expression (LTR vs. RTL) determines the order even for almost entirely Arabic text.

But the format string, by convention, is always left-to-right.

Now you may argue that this is confusing, or wrong.

But after being this way in just about every version of Windows that has ever shipped an Arabic locale, even if you were right (a point that I would probably not agree with you about unless we were in public and were going to get married (as I think it is best to never disagree with one's fiancée in public!), changing the behavior in Windows would require changing the expectations of a lot of different people.

Not something to do lightly, if you know what I mean. :-)

I think I could even convince the fiancée about this last part, since I could point out that we don't want make all of those people feel like they have been wrong all of these years. Since she is obviously an intelligent and sensitive (if stubborn) woman, she would never want to cause that much confusion....


This blog sponsored by غ (U+063a, aka ARABIC LETTER GHAIN)

Mihai on 25 Jun 2008 1:15 PM:

"we don't want make all of those people feel like they have been wrong all of these years"

But what if they think MS was wrong all these years, but had to live with it? (the way Romanians did with s/t comma bellow)

Michael S. Kaplan on 25 Jun 2008 1:26 PM:

Well, enough native speakers do want the behavior that it is hardly a clearcut case of everyone in country unhappy like with the Romanian situation. so in the end majority (and compatibility) wins....

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referenced by

2010/11/12 Suddenly, in a bit more time than a blink of an eye, "standards support" becomes "less i18n support"

2008/10/02 When swimming in a sea of CONTEXT, applications can drown (and there is no lifeguard)

2008/08/04 Tap your heels together three times and the problem is solved?

2008/06/26 I am not engaged, everyone!

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