l10n/i18n architecture proposal, RFC, presentation at FOSDEM

Hi all,

first of all, sorry for cross-posting, I guess some of you will get
this message two or three times.

Short introduction of myself, my name is Axel Hecht, and I'm
coordinating the localizations for Firefox and Thunderbird.

While looking at our status quo at Mozilla, and looking at other
attempts, I'm seeing limitations in both what we can do and what
others can do, and came up with an alternative proposal which I'm now
opening up for a broader community feedback.

I am proposing a solution for plain strings of course, but plurals and
declensions, too. Declensions are new, and, sadly, not backwards
compatible in any way. I also made a move on parameter substitution in
localized strings.

All of this is new enough to take Localization from version 1.0 to 2.0
(yeah, I'm all web 2.0), so I took the freedom to codename this l20n.
Pronounced l-twenty, I drop the 'n'.

This proposal is done with Mozilla on my mind, but it is in no way
limited to Mozilla, thus I'm seeking wider feedback and cooperation on

There are some documents on l20n on the mozilla wiki, if you're
interested, please check out http://wiki.mozilla.org/L20n, I have a
proof-of-concept implementation with some basic examples implemented
in ajax (you'll see I'm no web designer) on

I will give a presentation at FOSDEM this weekend, too,
http://fosdem.org/2007/schedule/events/mozilla_l20n, that's Sunday at
2pm. I'll give some introduction on where l20n is supposed to go, and
I do hope to have a good deal of discussion there. Feel free to grab
me anywhere close to the Mozilla developers room, if you wish.

Online feedback is of course welcome, either to me, or put challenges
up on the wiki (add your pages to the L20n category, please).
Discussion threads are likely best suited for the mozilla.dev.i18n
newsgroup, which you can find on google groups, too, in addition to
news.mozilla.org. That's close topic-wise and really low bandwidth, so
your signal-to-noise ratio should be fine.

There are very few things set in stone, so I'll be happy to see a
wider community participate.

Thanks and sorry for the wide-spread noise, I'll only do that once.


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