The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 15: Fixing our listings up in Windows 8!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2012/01/17 07:01 -05:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2012/01/17/10256884.aspx


Previous blogs from this series:

Windows support of locales, and in fact the whole locale model in Windows is impressive.

It's substantial.

And....

It's as confusing as all get out!

I mean, even almost seven years ago when I wrote What is my locale? Well, which locale do you mean? to list and define all the different kins of locales in Windows:

I was self-consciously aware of how confusing everyone found all this.

Now virtually everyone I talked too agreed that each term was entirely explainable, especially in Windows XP and later when they were each given new terms that didn't use the same word LOCALE over and over again.

But the only ones who were willing to call this motley crew intuitive were completely and totally high at the time.

And I'll be honest, the ones unwilling to call it intuitive were right.

The model, as expansive and feature-filled as it may be, is incredibly confusing.

The previous changes aimed at incrementally improving terminology were perhaps worthwhile, but ultimately unable to solve the real problem.

Until Windows 8....

Now first they take the old Regional and Language Options:

(shown here from Windows 7) to start.

Now instead of one Control Panel Applet, there are now two. in the Control Panel:

One for Region, with just three tabs, none of which say Language:

and one new one, for Language:

Now this Language Control Panel Applet is for User Interface Languages (if they are installed), for another language specific services (if they are installed) and for Keyboard Layouts (whether atop actual hardware keyboards or soft keyboard layouts).

You can see the new Keyboard List right here - notice the order is the same as from the Language applet, above:

  Now this does start to thin the herd in a more meaningful way.

Though speaking for myself it is an odd direction when you consider that both the Formats list is configured over the Region applet, and the Keyboards list is configured in the Language applet, and that both of their built-in lists are considerably larger than User Interface languages or any other services.

Though now with changes like the ones described in part 2 (raising the roof on keyboards), the keyboard list is now no longer completely limited to "supported locales" that populate the Formats List anyway.

So perhaps my concerns about the mode of disconnect are unwarranted. :-)

I will conditionally consider this to be a good evolutionary step that will simplify setting up Windows for typical users -- whether chnging UI language, adding keyboards, or whatever.

In the long run, I think the direction here will only get better and better over time.

Now in future parts, I'll dig in further here, looking at programmatic new means of getting information....


Richard Deeming on 17 Jan 2012 11:50 AM:

"... notice the order is the same as from the Language applet, above ..."

Except that it isn't. In the Language applet, Khmer is above Arabic; in the keyboard list, they've swapped positions.

Kathleen on 17 Jan 2012 4:09 PM:

I'm pretty sure work continues on the loc front but the new keyboard list word is Arab not Arabic language nor Egyptian Arabic are specified...

WS on 20 Jan 2012 6:37 PM:

My problem with this is, well, another item in the already long control panel list...


referenced by

2012/10/26 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 28: We finally fixed that 'Install New Languages' thing!

2012/10/02 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 27: No, the T and the H aren't silent...

2012/08/20 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 26: Hey Windows 8, there's someone on the phone for you.

2012/07/11 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 25: Something old, something new, something repurposed, and something...

2012/06/07 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 24: I Adar you! Hell, I Double Adar you! (Windows 8 ed.)

2012/06/05 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 23: Tamazight? Outta sight!

2012/04/12 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 22: Digit Substitution 2.0

2012/03/08 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 21: The Windows 8 Hijripalooza extraordinaire!

2012/03/02 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 20: Yes, it's Bangla. Not Bengali!

2012/02/21 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 19: In honor of International Mother Language Day...

2012/02/15 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 18: Two scripts that share ten digits can be trouble

2012/02/02 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 17: Today I feel like translating you more than before

2012/01/24 The evolving Story of Locale Support, part 16: We can't scale to a Xishuangbanna Dai locale, but…

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