Date/time formatting is more complex than you might initially expect. For
example, AM/PM are not used throughout the world. Neither is the Gregorian
calendar (like the one we use in the USA). Sunday is not always the first
day of the week. And so on.
In addition, the number of bytes that are required to write the symbols
and separators varies according to the character encoding and language.
You might want to check out the locale demo at:
It shows some of these issues in a real live display. Try choosing some
different locales such as ja_JP, th_TH, sk_SK, lv_LV, and tr_TR to get a
sense of how formatting, separators, and styles vary. Be sure to note how
the abbreviations vary also.
The Java Locale Demo is deficient in one regard: Sun's Java doesn't
natively support calendars other than the Gregorian one. Of the locales
listed above, ja_JP (Japan) and th_TH (Thailand) can use different
calendars--it's year 2547 in Thailand this year! (There are third party
classes that fix this).
If you are writing for Windows or Mac, both platforms provide excellent
support for alternate calendars and date formats via their native APIs.
Addison P. Phillips Principal Consultant
Inter-Locale LLC http://www.inter-locale.com
Los Gatos, CA, USA mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
+1 408.210.3569 (mobile) +1 408.904.4762 (fax)
Globalization Engineering & Consulting Services
> We are planning for a date control which would show up dates/time in any
> chracter. Now, how do we find out how many characters does a date in each
> language take up?
> For eg: To display AM in Arabic/japanese how many bytes are required?
> similarly for everything else.
> I'm sure there must be some standard to this. Or is it enough if I make it
> Unicode compliant and it will take care of the problem?
> rgds -Faheem
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