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RE: Two different sets of experiences about non-English identifiers

Joel Rees wrote:
> A few months back, one of my co-workers asked during a meeting if it was
> really okay that we are using Japanese in the tags in basically all our
> documents. There was a little mumbling, no discussion, except to point out
> that XML seems to allow us to at least use the ones in the UNICODE BMP,
> and nothing more. At this point, no one in our company is using English
> (except when the English tag makes more sense to them). The
> advantages seem to overwhelm any theoretical advantage to using English.

Were your co-workers schema designers, programmers, systems integrators or
end users?  If some of each, were there any differences in how much
differences native language tag names made?

> (And, since my Japanese is about the level of their English, I can feel
> first-hand the disadvantages. Using the tags is not so bad, it's
> making new ones up that slows me down.<chuckle/>)

It is good to learn that: schema designers need deeper level of language
expertise than schema users.  Makes sense.  Wordsmithing is more difficult
than reading.

> If we need to publish any of this in an environment where those who can't
> read Japanese, but need to work on the structure itself, are sufficient in
> number, I suppose we'll just make some translation tables and use a little
> XSLT or Perl to do global replaces, both directions.

What we need is better understanding of issues surrounding non-ASCII tag
names and better tools.  It is my opinion that XML WG tried to solve too
many problems through XML features when tools and education could have
provided better if not more natural solutions.

When I mentioned English in my previous messages, I really meant to say
ASCII.  I cannot ignore the fact that ASCII is uniquely available on all
computers with text input and output.  All computers know how to display
ASCII and all keyboards support ASCII input and most even have printed
labels for ASCII.  I am not aware of any other language that offers similar
universal availability.

Immediate advantages of native tag names cannot be denied, but at what cost?
Yes, little XSLT or Perl can translate, but cost of realizing 'can' is not
zero.  A Korean bank, which decided two years ago to use native tag names
companywide, now has to merge with an American bank, some heads will roll
when the CEO is faced with the bill.  My point is that we donot understands
the issues fully, and we need to find out before such practice becomes
unreversably common.


Don Park