Great Circle Associates Majordomo-Workers
(March 1998)

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Subject: The search list does the job [long] (Re: German language files)
From: "Hanno Mueller" <hanno @ lava . de>
Date: Tue, 31 Mar 1998 19:03:02 +0200
To: Norbert Bollow <nb @ thinkcoach . com>
Cc: ckp @ micro . lucent . com, majordomo-workers @ greatcircle . com
References: <199803311438.QAA14421@russell>

Norbert Bollow wrote:
> > Formal and informal forms are, for the purposes of Majordomo, really
> > distinct languages. It will probably be easier and cleaner to treat
> > them as such. The only issue that remains is naming them.
> The more difficult issue is deciding what to serve when a user requests
> e.g. "German".
> -- NB.

Jason's initial concept of "search lists" does this already.

If I understood Jason correctly, here's what it would look like:

# <lang> is an ISO language code

files/stock/informal/<lang>  # contains the informal language set
files/stock/<lang>/          # contains the standard
                             # (formal) language set
files/<lang>                 # if the site maintainer really
                             # wants to, he can put own versions
                             # of language sets here

All that Md2 needs now is a language search list:

@LANGUAGE_SEARCHLIST = ("files", "files/stock");

If a list owner wants to have the informal sets for his mailing list,
all he needs to do is

@LANGUAGE_SEARCHLIST = ("files", "files/stock/informal", "files/stock");

The list owner could even create own language sets and use

@LANGUAGE_SEARCHLIST = ("files/mylist", "files", "files/stock/informal",

Here's why Jason's idea convinced me to drop my suggestion of individual
language configuration files:

- It's easy to implement.

- If there is no informal language set installed, the search list will
make Md2 use the standard set. This solves the problem about "what to
choose when the user wants 'de'?"

- It is elegant: The list owner described above can adapt some files to
his own needs and put them in "files/mylist/". Md2 follows the search
list and as a result, the list owner's documents override the stock
documents. If there is no document provided by the list owner, Md2 will
choose the stock version.

- It does not require the (end-)users to choose between formal/informal
sets. Why should they, anyway? Choosing "de" is enough and it even
complies to the ISO code standard. List owners can use the search list
to choose the general behaviour of formal or informal style. I think it
is not necessairy to invent a per-language setting of formal/informal
style. If a list owner really wants that, he could copy all the informal
language sets he wants into his "files/mylist" directory and he's done.

Three problems remain with search lists:

- We need a "standard" layout for the content of "files/" directory. The
layout proposed above seems to fit most needs, so I think it already is
a good idea. I believe that the majority of languages fit into the
"formal/informal" scheme. If a translator comes along with a language
set that needs more categories, we'd simply have to discuss this issue
again and choose the name for an additional directory. Until then, I
think the layout above is enough.

- As described by Norbert, there are languages and language dialects
that do not have two letter ISO codes. But there already is an answer: (see part 2). A new ISO
standard with three letter codes exists. So we only have to update
Locale::Language with the new codes so that it supports both.

- This leaves those languages that do not have a language code at all.
Klingon etc. For these languages, we'd really have to create our own




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