[Haskell-cafe] Country names and language names

Jon Fairbairn jon.fairbairn at cl.cam.ac.uk
Fri Mar 8 10:56:56 CET 2013

"Henk-Jan van Tuyl" <hjgtuyl at chello.nl> writes:

> On Wed, 06 Mar 2013 20:53:57 +0100, Obscaenvs <obscaenvs at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Do not forget that country names can change; e.g. the Netherlands
>>> Antilles were split up in 2010. This might cause problems if you store
>>> country codes in a database. If you simply remove obsolete country
>>> codes, the database can not be used properly any more.
> P.S. If you want people to be able to enter there country of
> birth, you should include all countries that existed in the
> past 116 years; if  historians should be able to use it, you
> should include all countries that  ever existed.

These are both important points, but I think they fall outside
the remit of a library for ISO 3166 country codes, which I wrote
originally for use in circumstances where some other standard
just says “an ISO 3166 country code”. If the country codes
standard included (as ISO 639 language codes does) historical
codes, it would be appropriate to include them in that library,
but since it doesn’t, it requires a separate library.

Quite how far one should go back in this separate library I
cannot say, but there are obvious use cases for country /names/
for countries that ceased to exist before 1974 and which
therefore have never had an ISO 3166 country code.

* * *

I’m currently working on ISO 639 which again will be a
presentation of the standard as Haskell data types. It requires
ISO 15924 Script codes. It’s irritating how these things have
been standardised: the registry for ISO 639 is a different
format from ISO 15924, and the former includes (presumably
non-normatively) records for the script codes. In 639 ranges are
specified with “..” but in 15924 they are simply mentioned in
the names :-(.

Jón Fairbairn                                 Jon.Fairbairn at cl.cam.ac.uk
http://www.chaos.org.uk/~jf/Stuff-I-dont-want.html  (updated 2012-10-07)

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