Position paper for I18N Workshop

The authors are part of a small group with European Community funding to work on the development and standardization of APIs to support i18n, together with the development of libraries to support these APIs and their deployment in a number of trial applications including web servers and browsers, E-mail systems, and X.500 systems. This is the MAITS project.

One of the authors is also the UK Panel Chairman covering the i18n activity within ISO SC22 WG20, which has a New Work Item proposal ending its ballot period for the development of ISO Standards for APIs to provide i18n functionality.

It is our belief that the most effective way of ensuring rapid deployment of i18n facilities is the establishent of such APIs and libraries for use in a wide variety of applications. The deliberations at the workshop on the requirements for the WWW application will be a major input into the requirements analysis for these APIs, and will be important for both the MAITS work and for the SC22 WG20 work. We would very much wish to have direct attendance in order to fully understand the discussions that will take place.

The work in MAITS has only just begun, and we have no firm positions to state at this time, apart from the belief that agreement on application-independent APIs to support i18n will be crucial to the rapid deployment of this technology. MAITS has identified several levels of API and library support that will be needed:

The role of Java classes for the APIs, with network down-loading of associated libraries from a variety of (commercial) vendors, could be an important key to the development of a world-wide infrastructure supporting i18n.

In discussing the Web particularly, the following points were noted in discussion:

It is important to note that at this time these are simply summaries of discussions, and do not represent a consider view of the MAITS participitants, still less of any ISO work on i18n.

John Larmouth
Grahame Cooper