Re: OT (Kind of): Determining whether Locales are left-to-right or

From: Tex Texin (
Date: Thu Dec 07 2000 - 12:40:00 EST

I think you really need to give the user the option to override
the assumptions being made, as the degree of familiarity and experience
the user has with Hebrew and Arabic, and the purpose for using
the application will make a big difference.

For example, the case that you are suggesting goes off the rails,
is exactly what the user would want if he were going to
query the list of just Arabic and Israeli records and then copy and
paste them into perhaps a spreadsheet. Having the header
ordering change would allow the paste to place the date from
each field in the right columns in the target spreadsheet.

I would spend less time debating which is correct, and simply offer
a button on the UI to flip the ordering of the page.


John Cowan wrote:
> This message is best viewed with a monowidth font.
> wrote:
> > For example, I might look at a page that contains an very large result set
> > from a database query, presented as a table. The results would comprise
> > 90% of the text, let's say, of the document. If the results are all in
> > Hebrew, should I re-layout the page, if the headings and the footer and
> > other information is in English?
> >
> > I think the answer is "no"--in other words, the opposite of what you're
> > saying.
> So far so clear. The page as a whole is LTR with RTL inclusions,
> namely the database content, like this (as usual, lowercase is
> LTR text, UPPERCASE is RTL text):
> top dogs by country
> country firstname lastname
> ------- --------- --------
> u.s. bill clinton
> israel DUHE KARAB
> u.k. tony blair
> > If the *user* locale is en_US, then the page should be laid out
> > for that user's preferences, even if the data itself (in individual
> > fields) is RTL.
> But now your message seems to go off the rails. If the application is
> *not* localizable in Hebrew (it insists on presenting header, footer,
> etc. in English), but the browser's locale setting is "il-he", you want
> the page to be presented RTL with the header and footer as embedded
> LTR, like this?
> top dogs by country
> lastname firstname country
> -------- --------- -------
> clinton bill u.s.
> KARAB DUHE israel
> blair tony u.k.
> > > If a user requests a page that contains data that could, potentially, be in
> > > multiple languages. What criteria does one use to determine directionality
> > > of the page? The directionality of the *text* is implied by each data
> > > element itself. But what about the page?
> My view is that the base direction of the page is the direction of the fixed
> elements on the page. If these fixed elements are in English, the base
> direction is always LTR. If the fixed elements are localizable based on
> the browser settings, then whatever language/script they are localized
> into determines the base direction.
> In short, Example 1 good, Example 2 bad, no matter what the browser setting is.
> Of course, if the application can cope with an "il-he" browser setting and
> render the fixed elements into Hebrew, then the base direction should be
> RTL.
> --
> There is / one art || John Cowan <>
> no more / no less ||
> to do / all things ||
> with art- / lessness \\ -- Piet Hein

According to Murphy, nothing goes according to Hoyle.
Tex Texin                      Director, International Business      +1-781-280-4271 Fax:+1-781-280-4655
Progress Software Corp.        14 Oak Park, Bedford, MA 01730 #1 Embedded Database

Globalization Program ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

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