Re: please expand re bidi algorithm

From: Michael \(michka\) Kaplan (
Date: Mon Dec 04 2000 - 09:40:15 EST

Thank you, Darya -- good info. :-)

FYI to Roozbeh: check out the following page:

in x86 NN 6.0 (and Mozilla for all milestones 13-18), it will format the
currency value or 3943.23 as 3,943/23. This is identical to the behavior on
Windows 2000 and Arabic Win98.

On IE 5.0 and 5.5, it will format the same number as 23/3,943.

The page that was being used here you can get yourself from

at the bottom of the page. Nothing extravagent here, it just uses
ASP/VBScript and depends on three things:

1) The NLS database on the server (Windows 2000, at least, in this case)
2) The SetLocale function in VBScript to select a given locale in #1
3) The FormatCurrency function, which uses the info from #1 and #2

(Special thanks to Russ Rolfe of Microsoft who originally found this issue,
in IE 5.01!)

Is this a bug? It seems uncertain and would depend on your definiton of
"bug." The only thing we know for sure is that anyone who has a particular
opinion can unintentionally take advantage of the diversity of opinions to
prove that they were right -- no evil motive required.

This is the danger of trying to rely on "de facto" national standards (i.e.
depending on common usage), since according to common usage, everybody is
right (and everybody is wrong). Exactly how many people have to be using a
particular convention before one changes the opinion from "they are wrong"
to "the other convention is wrong or incomplete", exactly?

I think the Mozilla/Win2000 behavior is better since it properly handles the
people who *do* use the slash character as a currency separator, and I do
not see any cases that are broken for its usage either (note the date format
usage and how it is not negatively impacted for any Arabic script locale).
With this change, AFAICS, both camps are well treated and neither is
punished for their preferences.

Unfortunately, in the Unicode Bidi algorithm case and the IE 5.0/5.5 case,
at least one group is punished.

The change would be to treat the Slash character as a Common Separator
instead of a European Separator. This change is (I think) at least worth
consideration for the Unicode Bidi algorithm.


Michael Kaplan
Trigeminal Software, Inc.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Darya Said-Akbari" <>
To: "Unicode List" <>
Cc: "Unicode List" <>
Sent: Monday, December 04, 2000 5:49 AM
Subject: Re: please expand re bidi algorithm

> Sorry Roozbeh,
> but Michael is right. That is the way how iranian newspapers use the '/'
> numbers and currencies. So when you distinguish between Novice and
> FARSI speaker you should first revolute the whole iranian writing class in
not to
> use the '/' they are used to do.
> regards,
> Darya
> Roozbeh Pournader schrieb:
> > On Mon, 2 Oct 2000, Michael (michka) Kaplan wrote:
> >
> > > The slash character "/" is in the Unicode Bidi algorithm classified as
> > > a "European Separator" which means that text would
> > > be expected to be reversed (i.e. 1/2 would be expected to be 2/1).
> > > the the Farsi language (which uses the Arabic script) the slash is
also a
> > > decimal separator for currency, thus 123.45 would appear as 123/45.
> >
> > Slash is the date separator in Farsi, and not the decimal separator.
> > Persian has it's own decimal separator encoded in Unicode: U+066B.
> > So, 1/2 in Farsi may mean second day of the first month, or one half of
> > unit, but surely not 1.2.
> >
> > Some people haver "misused" the slash as a decimal separator, but that's
> > not a good reason for a different behaviour. I think that changing the
> > Bidi behaviour only creates incompatiblity problems, and annoys even the
> > people who misuse the slash.
> >
> > > The end result is indeed what a native Farsi speaker
> > > expects. I would find it unfortunate if this "bug" were "fixed" since
> > > would be done at the expense of Farsi users.
> >
> > No. This is not what a Farsi speaker expects. There are two kinds of
> > speakers, professional users, and novice users. Professional users need
> > compatiblity in different environments, and so they need the behaviour
> > be consistent. Novice ones are also not familiar with many other things,
> > so they will become accustomed to it. Of course, things like the lack of
> > Farsi decimal separator in Microsoft Farsi keyboard really annoys, and
> > that may be the reason behind possible non-conformance in some Microsoft
> > products.
> >
> > BTW, I've been on mozilla-i18n mailing list which also addresses bidi,
> > I have not heard anything about this mis-feature.
> >
> > --roozbeh

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