An Internationalization and Unicode Web Service?


Chances are that your favorite development platform already has internationalization support built into it. And probably Unicode charset support is there too. For example, Java and .NET platforms contain lots of APIs for formatting dates, numbers, etc in locale-sensitive ways. And you can get Unicode character data easily too. Unfortunately, the Unicode standard changes periodically, typically much more frequently than your development platform. You applications probably do NOT have full awareness of the latest Unicode database properties. Maybe that’s not important to you? But maybe it is? What do you do in that case? What can you do? You wait…and wait a little more. You wait until your platform’s authors update their Unicode support. That can be a very long time.

Do you think there’s a need for a web service to provide up-to-date Uncode character property information? If there were such a thing, would you use it?

Maybe Unicode character data isn’t exciting enough for you. So how about this? What if a web service existed that could provide human readable dates, times, and numbers in locale-sensitive formats? Sure those APIs exist in Java and .NET…but again, those platforms aren’t always up to date with the latest locale data and formats. What if your application could use use a web service to retrieve those formats?

Oh, and we haven’t mentioned calendar support yet. With Java, you get Gregorian, a Japanese Imperial calendar, a Thai one….and maybe that’s it. Those are important of course. But what if you need something more exotic? A Hebrew or Islamic or … any number of other calendars in use today and the past. What if a web service existed that could provide that information to your application. Would you use it?

No. I don’t have this web service today. But I wonder if others see a need for it. If so, drop me a note, let me know your ideas. If you don’t think it’s needed, let me know that too. I’m interested in arguments for and against such a service.

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