[sword-devel] ICU and internationalization in sword

Martin Gruner sword-devel@crosswire.org
Tue, 1 Oct 2002 08:12:38 +0200

I agree with Joel. ICU dependancy is the price we have to pay for clean 
Unicode support. We also will need it for the locale handling (toupper).


Am Dienstag, 1. Oktober 2002 00:40 schrieb Joel Mawhorter:
> Hi all,
> I'm writting to get reactions to the idea of making sword dependent on ICU.
> Currently we only have optional dependencies on ICU (at least for
> transliteration but I'm not sure what else). I would like to suggest making
> ICU required for sword. The reason I would like to see this happen is that
> I would like to use functionality in ICU in the searching and indexing code
> (and probably other things in the future). Dealing with strings in a
> language specific way is far from trivial for many operations. For example,
> doing a search for whole words only (e.g. searching for God doesn't return
> godly) isn't too hard just for English but to do this for all languages
> that are or can be supported by sword requires a lot of special logic since
> punctuation and even the concept of what a word is vary so much from
> language to language. Either we can use thirdy party code to do this or
> someone else or I can write this specially for sword. I can't speak for
> others but I think that if I had to write code like this it would likely
> not be as good as the ICU implementation is. Another example of something
> we need is case insensitive searching. Currently this is done with
> stristr() wich only handles ASCII. ICU allows this for any language
> supported by Unicode. I have already concluded that index creation will
> need to depend on ICU since the hardest part of indexing is breaking up a
> text into words which is different from language to langauge.
> Since ICU is well designed (IMO), open source, cross platform and contains
> about everything you could think of for Unicode string handling, the only
> downside I can see to requiring it is the added size requirements for the
> ICU libraries. The default build of the three main ICU 2.2 libraries on my
> machine total about 14 MB and they gzip to about 5.5 MB. For most platforms
> this is not a siginificant size increase. Even downloading over a modem,
> this doesn't add too much download time. For platforms where size is a
> significant issue, sword could be statically linked against ICU so that we
> only linked in the parts of ICU that we needed.
> I think that if we want to eventually have really good support for
> non-Latin based languages in sword we will at some point have to start
> using a library like ICU. I would rather do that now so that I don't have
> to write a bunch of code for searching that I will just throw out later.
> Another advantage of requiring ICU is that the front ends can start using
> it as well for internationalization of the user interfaces. What do you all
> think about this, especially regarding the advantages and disadvantages?
> Obviously Troy has the final say on this one but I thought a open
> discussion on this would be good.
> In Christ,
> Joel Mawhorter