[kde-edu]: Proposal to improve support for ISO 3166 Country Codes in KLocale
johnlayt at googlemail.com
Thu Feb 4 23:36:16 CET 2010
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I would like to propose improving our support for the ISO 3166 Country Code
standard (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_3166) in two areas.
Firstly, some apps need to translate between the alpha 2, alpha 3 and numeric
forms of the code, e.g. the EXIF standard uses alpha 3 codes, but KDE uses
alpha 2 for example when fetching the translated country name to display.
Secondly, some libraries and apps would like to use the subdivision codes as
provided by ISO 3166-2 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_3166-2), e.g.
KHolidays wants to know a users state or province to know which regional
holidays to display. Other users could be Marble, KGeography, etc.
While it would be easy to add the alpha 3 code to each locale's .desktop file,
this would be inefficient on a one-off look-up (reading 100 files each time on
average), so I was initially thinking a static table loaded from a file would
The subdivisions, however, with some 4200 codes currently defined, could
quickly become a support and translation nightmare.
Fortunately, there exists the iso-codes project (http://pkg-
isocodes.alioth.debian.org/) which provides the ISO 639 Language Codes, ISO
3166 Country Codes, ISO 4217 Currency Codes, and ISO 15924 Script Codes in XML
files, along with translations into some 38 languages.
I propose that we depend on iso-codes, use the 3166 xml file as the source for
a code conversion method, and use the 3166-2 xml file as a source for the
subdivision codes. The package appears in every major distro I've looked at.
My big question is over translations. The XML file contains subdivision names
in their local version, so even en_US would require translating. I assume we
would be able to use the provided translations, or would we have to do our
own? In either event, not all KDE supported languages are included in iso-
codes, would we be able to mix their translations and our own? Or would we
prefer to do our own for all languages?
Obviously it's not fair to demand all 4200 subdivisions be translated into
every language. I would propose instead we would only require they are
available in English and their country's language(s). It would then be at
each translation team's discretion as to which other codes they translate,
i.e. I'd expect neighbouring countries and US States to be a popular target,
but New Zealand regions not so much.
Besides KLocale providing access methods, System Settings would allow
selection of the users default subdivision. We could also in theory provide
locale files for any country subdivision with localisation standards that
differ from the rest of the country.
Thoughts? Any possible problems? Has anyone looked at using these files in
the past? Any suggestions on alternative sources for the codes or
translations (GeoNames?), or other uses in KDE? Any demand out there for
support of the US standard FIPS codes as well?
P.S. Wish I'd known about this when doing currency codes, although it doesn't
have all the details we support the translations would have been handy :-)
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