ISO/ IEC JTC1/SC22 N2295

Date: Mon, 7 Oct 1996 15:47:38 -0400 (EDT)
From: "william c. rinehuls" <>
Subject: SC22 N2295 - NWI for API Internationalization

_________________beginning of title page _______________________________
Programming languages, their environments and system software interfaces
Secretariat:  U.S.A.  (ANSI)


October 1996

TITLE:               Proposal for a NWI for SC22 on: Internationalization
                     Application Program Interface (API) Standard

SOURCE:              Secretariat, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC22

WORK ITEM:           N/A

STATUS:              N/A

CROSS REFERENCE:     SC22 N2298, 2301

DOCUMENT TYPE:       Proposal for a NWI

ACTION:              To SC22 Member Bodies for information.

                     Action was taken on this request at the September
                     1996 JTC 1/SC22 Plenary

Address reply to:
ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC22 Secretariat
William C. Rinehuls
8457 Rushing Creek Court
Springfield, VA 22153
Tel:  +1 (703) 912-9680
Fax:  +1 (703) 912-2973

__________________end of title page, beginning of text _________________

                                   ISO/IEC JTC1/SC22 N2295R

Title: NP for Internationalization API standard

Source: SC22

Date: 1996-09-27

Status: SC contribution

Project: New project

Action: For JTC1 letter ballot

SC22 requests JTC1 to approve the following project and assign
it to SC22 for development. 

1. Title

Application Program Interfaces (APIs) for internationalization.

2. Scope

A Language Independent API standard on internationalization
services with a normative binding for the programming language
C, and possibly one or more informational bindings to other
programming languages. The services defined will be:

     coded character set invocation service
     coded character set handling service
     character repertoire invocation service
     character repertoire handling service
     cultural convention set invocation service
     cultural convention set handling service
     string handling service
     message service
     compare sort and search service
     character classification service
     case mapping service
     transliteration service                               
     date format service
     time format service
     day numbering service
     week numbering service
     numeric format service
     currency format service

3. Purpose and justification

JTC1 has assigned the project JTC1.22.30 "Functionality for
Internationalization of Applications" for development to
JTC1/SC22 in its WG20.   

It is proposed to establish a new project to produce a  stan-
dard with the specific contents here mentioned. 

The standard will be on Application Program Interfaces (APIs)
in a Language Independent form, which interfaces to the inter-
nationalization (i18n) data specified with the cultural conven-
tions specification standard. The API standard will provide
uniform semantics and access to the registered cultural conven-
tion-sets, in order to enable consistent behaviour across
programming languages and environments.

Programming languages binding to the i18n API standard will
benefit from the standard proposed, as they can rely on data
provided by the user, instead of building in all the support in
the language itself, and they can reuse the design of the i18n
model from WG20 and be aligned with other programming languages
binding to this API standard, instead of inventing their own
i18n functionality.

The standard is important as the use of computers is moving
very rapidly from a primarily professional, American/European
oriented, user base to a much more general use, encompassing
users from a wide range of cultures and speaking many different

4. Programme of Work

An international standard is expected to be developed for this

5. Relevant documents to be considered

ISO/IEC DTR 11017 Framework for Internationalization 
ISO/IEC 9945-2:1993 POSIX Shell and Utilities
ISO/IEC 10646-1:1993 Universal Multi-Octet Coded Character Set
ISO/IEC 9899:1993 Programming language C
ISO/IEC 11404:1996 Language Independent Data Types
ISO/IEC 13886:1996 Language Independent Procedure Calls
ISO/IEC CD 14651 International String Ordering
ISO/IEC CD 14652 Specification for Cultural Conventions

6. Cooperation and liaison

ISO/IEC JTC1/SC2 Character sets and Information coding
Other ISO/IEC JTC1 SCs where appropriate.

7. Preparatory work offered with target date(s)

It is proposed that the project be assigned to JTC1/SC22/WG20.

A CD document will be ready for registration 24 months after
approval of the project by JTC1.

Keld Simonsen (Denmark) is the proposed editor for this stan-

There will not be a need for a maintenance agency nor a regi-
stration authority for this project.

There are no known requirements for coding for this proposed

The proposed standard does not concern known patented items.

Statement on specific API questions for the NP

With respect to the requirement in the JTC1 directives for NPs
on APIs, the following statements are made:

a) SC22 is responsible for the underlying services of the APIs.

b) SC22 is responsible for the involved programming languages

c) The APIs do not require extensions to existing programming
languages or services, but programming languages may chose to
extend the language in their binding.

d) The kind of expertise required to develop the APIs is in the
area of internationalization and binding techniques.

e) There are resources available in WG20 and WG14 and in other
SC22 WGs, that are contributing to the work.

f) The relationship to other work in the SC22 is that the API
will interface to data as specified in IS 14652, which is based
on work in IS 9945-2. The APIs will use input from IS 9899 and
other programming language standards. The framework in TR 11017
will be used.

g) It is believed that appropriate expertise will be available
for the draft API specification, as it is expected that at
least 6 member bodies will participate, and there is also
support from the European Union and industry and academic
community in the project "Multilingual Application Interfaces
for Telematic Services - MAITS".    

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