Re: localization, internationalization and Caml

From: skaller (
Date: Thu Oct 21 1999 - 18:36:21 MET DST

Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1999 02:36:21 +1000
From: skaller <>
Subject: Re: localization, internationalization and Caml

Matías Giovannini wrote:
> Strings can be localized with a package mechanism, à la Java. I don't
> like hardwired strings in code, they're a maintenance nightmare (not
> that I always abide by my own rule :-)

        It doesn't matter what you like (or what I like).

> > Have you ever seen a Japanese program? I have.
> > Yes. What ocaml does not provide is a way of encoding
> > extended characters -- \uXXXX \UXXXXXXXXX in strings, or in identifiers.
> No need to. Use \HH\LL. Again, what OCaml does is sensible, if crude.

        Irrelevant. The \u \U escapes are ISO recommended, used in
C and C++, and must be supported.
> > > Which makes me think, John, you already have variable-length int arrays.
> >
> > But they're not standard (yet).
> They are! Don't be put off by its status as "experimental feature".
> Nat's been around since CamlLight.

        Oh, I must have misunderstood your comment: Nat is standard,
I'm using it in Viper, but 'a Varray -- a variable length array of 'a,
is not.

> Again, anyone can download the source code and modify OCaml to suit his
> tastes. OCaml's goal is not to be a model of i18n awareness, but a
> platform for experimenting with types in a functional setting.

        Ocaml is a tool, it doesn't have a goal. :-)
Humans have goals. The problem is that the designers of ocaml
have been too successful: ocaml is so good that other people now
want to use it, and _their_ goals are important too.

> happens that OCaml is open enough, and extensible enough, and efficient
> enough to make a good i18n effort possible, and that is a tribute to its
> success as strongly-typed, imperative, fast functional language.

        I agree. It could easily become a leader in this field,
since implementing complex stuff is relatively easy in ocaml :-)
> The implementors have made clear in more than one occasion that they're
> not interested in making OCaml a standard language (remember the thread
> "How to convince management?"). But don't take my word for it, ask Pierre.

        My point was simply that the ISO internationalisation requirements
are not unreasonable, and that other languages will be doing this work,
some because they have to, and some because they want to stay part of
the real world -- and encourage non-English (woops, I mean, non-Latin
clients, who, after all, may well make significant contributions.

John Skaller,
1/10 Toxteth Rd Glebe NSW 2037 Australia

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