Bugs in Java 7 Locale or ResourceBundle?

While working on a chapter in an upcoming APress book, I was experimenting with Java 7′s Locale and ResourceBundle classes. Java 7 introduces two new Locale categories: DISPLAY and FORMAT. You can set the default locale for localizable user interface resources independently from the default locale for data Format subclasses. For example, you supposedly can set up a DISPLAY locale to display Spanish (es) resources for the user interface text but use American English (en-US) for date formats.

This does seem to work correctly the first time you load a ResourceBundle, but subsequent calls to getBundle seem to get stuck with previous DISPLAY locale settings. For example, take a look at the following code:

public void setCategoryDefaultLocale(Locale displayLocale, Locale formatLocale) {
    Locale.setDefault(Locale.Category.DISPLAY, displayLocale);
    Locale.setDefault(Locale.Category.FORMAT, formatLocale);   

public void demoDefaultLocaleSettings() {
    DateFormat df = DateFormat.getDateTimeInstance(DateFormat.SHORT,
    ResourceBundle resource = ResourceBundle.getBundle("mypackage.resource.SimpleResources");
    String greeting = resource.getString("GOOD_MORNING");
    String date = df.format(NOW);
    System.out.printf("DISPLAY LOCALE: %s\n",
    System.out.printf("FORMAT LOCALE:  %s\n",
    System.out.printf("%s, %s\n\n", greeting, date );

Now I call the two methods above in succession:

setCategoryDefaultLocale(Locale.forLanguageTag("es-MX"), Locale.US);
setCategoryDefaultLocale(Locale.US, Locale.forLanguageTag("es-MX"));

In the following output, notice that the first call to demoDefaultLocaleSettings does actually grab the es-MX resources for the DISPLAY locale, and it formats the NOW date using the en-US FORMAT locale. That’s exactly what I’d expect. However, the subsequent call (even after flushing the ResourceBundle cache), still loads the es-MX resources despite the explicit request for en-US resources. I expected that ResourceBundle would have loaded and retrieved “Good morning!” after the second call to setCategoryDefaultLocale.

¡Buenos días!, 9/18/11 1:59 AM

¡Buenos días!, 18/09/11 01:59 AM

I suspect that the real problem isn’t in the Locale.setDefault methods. Instead, I’m going to blame ResourceBundle for this until I can prove otherwise.

If you’ve seen this in the past, let me know. I’m coming up empty for now trying to resolve why I don’t get U.S. English in the second call. Let me know if you know anything about this! Maybe a bug? Maybe user error?

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