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Re: XSLT (2) namespace safe i18n patterns

Subject: Re: XSLT (2) namespace safe i18n patterns
From: ac <ac@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 23 Nov 2009 01:16:04 -0500
Re:  XSLT (2) namespace safe i18n patterns
Hi Syd,

Thank you for your quick response. Yes xml:lang was defined for i18n. Aren't "natural" languages a reference model for namespaces?

I use xml:lang for translation dictionary applications, but it does not seem to apply well here. I was looking for something more optimal for this context. Restricting i18n to xml:lang seems to also mean that (sizable) applications are either initially designed for i18n or not at all, and that attributes cannot be internationalized. I think and hope that we can do better.

If you have 1M elements, for example with 2 different display attributes each, the xml:lang approach would imply 2M more elements for each supported language (e.g. 5 languages would mean 10M additional nodes, 10 times more), more elaborate processing (over, let's say 25K lines of XSLT), changing document structure and content as well as most attribute processing to element processing, a design "made for "i18n" (e.g. translation dictionary) rather than a design optimized for the application at stake.

Comparatively, managing namespaces with discipline and maintaining a stable environment so that prefixes do not effectively change, does not seem so bad, yet I still hope to do better. Any help appreciated.

Thank you.


My gut instinct is that it is a less than optimal solution to try to
use namespaces to differentiate natural languages. That's what
xml:lang= is for, after all.

    <name xml:lang="en">medical doctor</name>
    <name xml:lang="fr">midecin</name>
    <name xml:lang="zh-TW">...</name>

namespace, (XML) namespaces seemed designed to support localization (e.g. i18n). Namespace safety seems to damper that somewhat, and I am looking for an optimal pattern. Many list members here have worked extensively with internationalization and namespaces, can anyone help me find an optimal pattern to handle this:.

In a large XSLT2 project with lots of rich display vocabulary and
languages, we have (many different) elements that can include
display attributes like <z name="Displayed Name" .../>

To support i18n for those names, it seems natural to define
namespaces for each supported language, using the 2-letter
localization codes, as:

    more-attributes=". . ."

<!-- . . . -->

<!-- and creating corresponding attributes in the displayed elements, like: -->
<z name="MD" fr:name="Midecin" en:name="Medical Doctor" more-attributes-and-content=". . ." />

<!-- . . . -->

<!-- as well as having other "context setting" elements that can define locale, like: -->
<person lang="fr" more-attributes-and-content=". . ." />

<!-- and at display time, using the @lang attribute from the context element (e.g. person) to match and select the "name" attribute from the displayed element (e.g. z), in the proper namespace (e.g. fr), for example. Directly matching localization codes with namespace prefixes, could provide great i18n flexibility and simplicity. -->


Localization codes are stable, but namespace prefixes may not be. Changing prefixes can seriously break this scheme. What could/should be the best way/pattern to manage this in a (namespace) safe way?

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