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Re: [RFC] automatic apostrophes

From: Robert Millan
Subject: Re: [RFC] automatic apostrophes
Date: Tue, 29 Aug 2006 21:13:04 +0200
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.12-2006-07-14

On Tue, Aug 29, 2006 at 08:33:40PM +0200, Bruno Haible wrote:
> Robert Millan wrote:
> >  - What if *printf is not suitable?  E.g. X11 applications.  Will they be
> >    forced to sprintf it before passing the string to whatever function needs
> >    to handle them?
> Yes. sprintf or asprintf is the standard function for merging strings or
> numbers into strings. X11 applications use it.

Oh, right.. :)

> >  - Can we make the interface more generic?  Idealy, one should be able to 
> > pass
> >    any string without specifiing which kind of "merging" should happen, and 
> > let
> >    the merging function decide itself (it could even be the same 
> > function/syntax
> >    for all languages, by checking which language we're using in runtime).
> Basically, you want to define localized_*printf functions for every language?
> Given that sprintf is already at least ca. 25 KB of code without any
> locale dependent extension, how can this be made manageable?

Ok, if size is a problem, I suppose we can get the program to select the code
for the current language in runtime?

Though, the important for me is the former part, about having the same routine
to handle all string "merging" for a given language.  For Catalan it is
important because there are lots of variations but they follow the same pattern,
so the same code can be used to handle all them (the code for Catalan won't be
trivial; there are a pair of complicated exceptions to the "starts with vowel?"

> >    For example if I want to print "en %s et saluda!", and I know that "en 
> > %s"
> >    contains enough information to determine wether itself needs to be 
> > changed to
> >    "n'%s", I could tell this function to process "en %s" and then append
> >    " et saluda!".
> We need a working prototype before deciding whether such "magic processing"
> is the good approach, or whether more explicit directives are better for
> locale-dependent processing.

That's why I think it should be less explicit, and more generic.  If the special
syntax we add to printf handles simple string replacements, then it'll scale to
anything we want to do with it.  We know that a string replacement is always
usable, because more context can be added to the string untill there's enough
to determine wether it needs to be changed, and how.

For example, in Catalan the string "en %s" is enough to tell if itself needs
modification, but in English you might want to perform sophisticated checks on
the context to determine what "Ajax" means [1].

[1] Like Paul, I'm just using this as an example.  I don't really think someone
    will try that!

Robert Millan

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