Requirements for the Internationalization of Web Services

Editors' copy $Date: 2004/11/15 06:48:03 $ 12 November 2004

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Addison P. Phillips, webMethods, Inc.

This document is also available in these non-normative formats: XML.


This document describes requirements for internationalizing Web services.

Status of this Document

This document is an editors' copy that has no official standing.

This section describes the status of this document at the time of its publication. Other documents may supersede this document. A list of current W3C publications and the latest revision of this technical report can be found in the W3C technical reports index at

This document is a W3C Working Group Note, made available by the W3C Internationalization Working Group (Web Services Internationalization Task Force) as part of the W3C Internationalization Activity. It describes requirements for the internationalization of Web services and is intended for review by W3C Members and other interested parties. It is also intended to serve as a basis for future work on Web service internationalization.

There were only very few changes since the last publication. The main change is the addition of requirement R007 about integration with the overall Web services architecture and existing technologies. The wording of the other requirements was changed to not favor solutions that are still under discussion. Text has been streamlined and references have been updated.

The Internationalization Working Group (Web Services Internationalization Task Force) thinks that this document has reached a sufficient level of maturity to be published as a Working Group Note, and does not intend to issue new versions in the near future. This does not exclude that the document may be updated at a later stage, after more experience has been gained with the internationalization of Web services.

The Internationalization Working Group or its successor will keep track of any further comments and discussion relating to this document, and invites any such comments or discussion. Please send comments on this document to the mailing list (public archive). Please use [Web Services] or [WSReq] in the subject.

At the time of publication, the Working Group believed there were no patent disclosures relevant to this specification. A current list of patent disclosures relevant to this specification may be found on the Working Group's patent disclosure page.

Publication as a Working Group Note does not imply endorsement by the W3C, including the Team and Membership.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 Requirements
    2.1 R007 Integrate Internationalization with Web Services Standards
    2.2 R001 Locale Information in SOAP
    2.3 R002 Locale Information in WSDL
    2.4 R003 International Policies in WSDL
    2.5 R004 International Policies in SOAP
    2.6 R005 Locale Identifiers
    2.7 R006 Multi-Lingual Service Discovery Requirements


A References (Non-Normative)
B Acknowledgements (Non-Normative)

1 Introduction

A Web Service is a software application identified by a URI [RFC2396], whose interfaces and binding are capable of being defined, described and discovered by XML artifacts, and which supports direct interactions with other software applications using XML-based messages via Internet-based protocols. The full range of application functionality can be exposed in a Web service.

The W3C Internationalization Working Group, Web Services Task Force, was chartered to examine Web Services for internationalization issues. The result of this work is the Web Services Internationalization Usage Scenarios document [WSIUS]. Some of the scenarios in that document demonstrate that, in order to achieve worldwide usability, internationalization options must be exposed in a consistent way in the definitions, descriptions, messages, and discovery mechanisms that make up Web services.

The following is a list of the requirements to address these issues.

2 Requirements

2.2 R001 Locale Information in SOAP

Problem Statement: Service providers and services need information about the locale, language preference, time zone, or other international preferences (such as currency, collation, etc.) of the requester.

Requirement: A Specification or Specifications for a SOAP header or data structure (possibly a SOAP Feature, see [SOAP-Feature], Section 5: A Convention for Describing Features and Bindings) to send the Web service provider international context information (such as locale, language, or other culturally linked preferences) about the requester and which the provider can use to tailor the language, invocation, or operation of services or the operation of the provider (such as language selection in the generation of Faults and so forth).

A References (Non-Normative)

"Tags for the Identification of Languages", Harald Alvestrand, January 2001. (See
"Tags for the Identification of Languages", Addison Phillips and Mark Davis, Internet-Draft draft-phillips-langtags-08, 9 November 2004, work in progress (this document is intended as a replacement for RFC3066). (See
"Web Services Internationalization Usage Scenarios", Debasish Banerjee, Martin J. Dürst, Mike McKenna, Addison Phillips, Takao Suzuki, Tex Texin, Mary Trumble, Andrea Vine, Kentaroh Noji, W3C Working Group Note, 30 July 2004. (See
"Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI): Generic Syntax", Tim Berners-Lee, Roy Fielding, and Larry Masinter, August 1998. (See
"SOAP Version 1.2, Part 2 (Adjuncts)", Martin Gudgin, Marc Hadley, Noah Mendelsohn, Jean-Jacques Moreau, and Henrik Frystyk Nielsen, W3C Recommendation 24 June 2003. (See

B Acknowledgements (Non-Normative)

This document is the work of the Web Services Task Force of the W3C Internationalization Working Group. The participants in this task force contributing to the development of these requirements and the content of this document are: Debasish Banerjee (IBM), Martin Dürst (W3C), Mike McKenna (University of California), Takao Suzuki (Microsoft), Tex Texin (Xencraft), Mary Trumble (IBM), Andrea Vine (Sun Microsystems)