Click here to close now.

Welcome!

Java Authors: Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Esmeralda Swartz, Jnan Dash

Related Topics: Java

Java: Article

Turkish Java Needs Special Brewing

Turkish Java Needs Special Brewing

On a recent trip to Turkey to meet with a customer, I heard a comment that one of the reasons Java is being held back in that country is because of an almost ubiquitous local bug.

In the Turkish alphabet there are two letters for "i," dotless and dotted. The problem is that the dotless "i" in lowercase becomes the dotless in uppercase. At first glance this wouldn't appear to be a problem; however, the problem lies in what programmers do with upper- and lowercases in their code.

The two lowercase letters are \u0069 "i" and \u0131 (dotless "I") and are totally unrelated. Their uppercase versions are \u0130 (capital letter "I" with dot above it) and \u0049 "I". The issue is that this behavior does not occur in English where the single lowercase dotted "i" becomes an uppercase dotless "I."

With the statement String.toUppercase(), most Java programmers try to effectively neutralize case. Consider a HashMap with string keys and you have a key that you want to look up. If you want to ignore case, you'll probably uppercase everything going into the map, its entries, and the string you're doing the lookup with. This works fine for English, but not for Turkish, where dotless becomes dotless. I was shown an example of this bug in a popular HTML editor where a developer had done this with the set of HTML tags, so <title> would be indistinguishable from <TITLE> to their program and all variants in between, and probably looked like:

If (tagEnteredByUser.toUppercase().equals("TITLE"){
doTitleTagStuff();
}

In Turkish when "title" is entered, the resulting uppercase string has a dotted uppercase I (not the English dotless one) and the program wasn't working as desired. This bug is just one example of where it had occurred. Another popular Java application failed with a similar bug tied back to the following code:

if (System.getProperty("os.name").toUppercase().equals("WINDOWS"){
doStuffSpecificForWindows();
}

The current locale is set as the user's country, and the implementation of string methods use the default locale.

String toUppercase(){
return toUppercase(java.util.Locale.getDefault());
}

Given that this works for English (where /u0060 uppercases to /u0049 correctly), why doesn't it hold true for Turkish? The developer did find special code that deliberately does the dotted to dotted, dotless to dotless, complete with a comment ironically stating:

// special code for turkey

The solution is to specify an explicit English locale when uppercasing for programmatic purposes, so the first line of buggy code would become:

If (tagEnteredByUser.toUppercase(java.util.Locale.ENGLISH)).equals("TITLE"){
doTitleTagStuff();
}

Even if this were diligently done by everyone developing your code, you'll still encounter a problem when using something written by someone else whose source you don't have access to. For this the current workaround by Tamar Sezgin and others is to switch the locale of the program before the buggy code, make the call, and then switch back.

Locale.setDefault(Locale.ENGLISH);
// Use incorrectly written code
Locale.setDefault(new Locale("tr","","");

The problem with this is that it fails to follow the principle of least astonishment. It's only there because Java supports locale-sensitive case conversion. However, this isn't offered by alternatives such as VB, C++, or Delphi, where case conversion follows English rules and if you want to do dotless "correctly" you have to implement it yourself. The only case where you would actually want to do it "correctly" would be for a user-visible string accepting a Turkish name (such as a surname), and the developers who want to do this would be those who were more likely to be aware of locale issues. The exception would then be:

Locale turkishLocale = new Locale("tr","","");
String tag = anotherUserVisibleString.toUppercase(turkishLocale));
String s2 = anotherUserVisibleString.toUppercase(turkishLocale));
If(s1.equals(s2)){
doSomethingFunWithTwoEqualsStrings();
}

However, even better would be:

If(sq.equalsIgnoreCase(s2)){
doSomethingFunWithTwoEqualsStrings();
}

so the only real case of wanting to uppercase a user-visible string to compare against another user-visible string is left to developers of database indexes and doesn't need to be tackled at all by most Java programmers.

There is a PMR 53119 open to try to get Java changed so the default logic is to assume the string is not user visible. However, because this would be a breaking change to the current behavior, it can't be done. In the meantime, I would urge all developers who ever find themselves converting a string into upper- or lowercase to think about whether these are user-visible strings. If not, make sure you explicitly use the English locale, otherwise you're going to serve up Java that tastes great everywhere except Turkey.

.  .  .

I would like to thank Tamar Sezgin of IBM Turkey for explaining this problem to me and helping with this editorial.

More Stories By Joe Winchester

Joe Winchester, Editor-in-Chief of Java Developer's Journal, was formerly JDJ's longtime Desktop Technologies Editor and is a software developer working on development tools for IBM in Hursley, UK.

Comments (2) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
jcnelson 08/28/08 09:01:25 AM EDT

Thanks for the posting, which we are hoping will solve our software issue with two Turkish clients. This may be four years out of date, but please correct the code example, which has many nonsensical errors (two identical operations on anotherUserVisibleString, use of String tag without later reuse, introduction of variables s1 and sq without any context, misnaming of function to have "...twoEqualsStrings"...!)

Locale turkishLocale = new Locale("tr","","");
String tag = anotherUserVisibleString.toUppercase(turkishLocale));
String s2 = anotherUserVisibleString.toUppercase(turkishLocale));
If(s1.equals(s2)){
doSomethingFunWithTwoEqualsStrings();
}

However, even better would be:

If(sq.equalsIgnoreCase(s2)){
doSomethingFunWithTwoEqualsStrings();
}

Gorkem Ercan 09/09/04 03:25:08 AM EDT

I have been using java for more than 5 years in Turkish language environments. What you had described is a known issue java developers come across from time to time. From a technical perspective this is an interesting issue, but I do not think this issue has anything to do with "java being held back" in Turkey. If you wish to see the real reasons behind why java is held back in Turkey, compare the number of events by java big players, such as IBM, Sun, BEA to promote java with Microsoft' s .NET events.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 16th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York June 9-11 will find fresh new content in a new track called PaaS | Containers & Microservices Containers are not being considered for the first time by the cloud community, but a current era of re-consideration has pushed them to the top of the cloud agenda. With the launch of Docker's initial release in March of 2013, interest was revved up several notches. Then late last...
So I guess we’ve officially entered a new era of lean and mean. I say this with the announcement of Ubuntu Snappy Core, “designed for lightweight cloud container hosts running Docker and for smart devices,” according to Canonical. “Snappy Ubuntu Core is the smallest Ubuntu available, designed for security and efficiency in devices or on the cloud.” This first version of Snappy Ubuntu Core features secure app containment and Docker 1.6 (1.5 in main release), is available on public clouds, and for ARM and x86 devices on several IoT boards. It’s a Trend! This announcement comes just as...
SYS-CON Events announced today the IoT Bootcamp – Jumpstart Your IoT Strategy, being held June 9–10, 2015, in conjunction with 16th Cloud Expo and Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Javits Center in New York City. This is your chance to jumpstart your IoT strategy. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but includes hands-on demos and walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of Do-It-Yourself IoT platforms including Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark and Intel Edison. You will also get an overview of cloud technologies s...
Health care systems across the globe are under enormous strain, as facilities reach capacity and costs continue to rise. M2M and the Internet of Things have the potential to transform the industry through connected health solutions that can make care more efficient while reducing costs. In fact, Vodafone's annual M2M Barometer Report forecasts M2M applications rising to 57 percent in health care and life sciences by 2016. Lively is one of Vodafone's health care partners, whose solutions enable older adults to live independent lives while staying connected to loved ones. M2M will continue to gr...
While not quite mainstream yet, WebRTC is starting to gain ground with Carriers, Enterprises and Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) alike. WebRTC makes it easy for developers to add audio and video communications into their applications by using Web browsers as their platform. But like any market, every customer engagement has unique requirements, as well as constraints. And of course, one size does not fit all. In her session at WebRTC Summit, Dr. Natasha Tamaskar, Vice President, Head of Cloud and Mobile Strategy at GENBAND, will explore what is needed to take a real time communications ...
The best mobile applications are augmented by dedicated servers, the Internet and Cloud services. Mobile developers should focus on one thing: writing the next socially disruptive viral app. Thanks to the cloud, they can focus on the overall solution, not the underlying plumbing. From iOS to Android and Windows, developers can leverage cloud services to create a common cross-platform backend to persist user settings, app data, broadcast notifications, run jobs, etc. This session provides a high level technical overview of many cloud services available to mobile app developers, includi...
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Vicom Computer Services, Inc., a provider of technology and service solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. They are located at booth #427. Vicom Computer Services, Inc. is a progressive leader in the technology industry for over 30 years. Headquartered in the NY Metropolitan area. Vicom provides products and services based on today’s requirements around Unified Networks, Cloud Computing strategies, Virtualization around Software defined Data Ce...
Dave will share his insights on how Internet of Things for Enterprises are transforming and making more productive and efficient operations and maintenance (O&M) procedures in the cleantech industry and beyond. Speaker Bio: Dave Landa is chief operating officer of Cybozu Corp (kintone US). Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, Dave has been on the forefront of the Cloud revolution driving strategic business development on the executive teams of multiple leading Software as a Services (SaaS) application providers dating back to 2004. Cybozu's kintone.com is a leading global BYOA (Build Your O...
SYS-CON Media announced today that @WebRTCSummit Blog, the largest WebRTC resource in the world, has been launched. @WebRTCSummit Blog offers top articles, news stories, and blog posts from the world's well-known experts and guarantees better exposure for its authors than any other publication. @WebRTCSummit Blog can be bookmarked ▸ Here @WebRTCSummit conference site can be bookmarked ▸ Here
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ciqada will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Ciqada™ makes it easy to connect your products to the Internet. By integrating key components - hardware, servers, dashboards, and mobile apps - into an easy-to-use, configurable system, your products can quickly and securely join the internet of things. With remote monitoring, control, and alert messaging capability, you will meet your customers' needs of tomorrow - today! Ciqada. Let your products take flight. For more inform...
What exactly is a cognitive application? In her session at 16th Cloud Expo, Ashley Hathaway, Product Manager at IBM Watson, will look at the services being offered by the IBM Watson Developer Cloud and what that means for developers and Big Data. She'll explore how IBM Watson and its partnerships will continue to grow and help define what it means to be a cognitive service, as well as take a look at the offerings on Bluemix. She will also check out how Watson and the Alchemy API team up to offer disruptive APIs to developers.
The IoT Bootcamp is coming to Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo on June 9-10 at the Javits Center in New York. Instructor. Registration is now available at http://iotbootcamp.sys-con.com/ Instructor Janakiram MSV previously taught the famously successful Multi-Cloud Bootcamp at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo in November in Santa Clara. Now he is expanding the focus to Janakiram is the founder and CTO of Get Cloud Ready Consulting, a niche Cloud Migration and Cloud Operations firm that recently got acquired by Aditi Technologies. He is a Microsoft Regional Director for Hyderabad, India, and one of the f...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GENBAND, a leading developer of real time communications software solutions, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. The GENBAND team will be on hand to demonstrate their newest product, Kandy. Kandy is a communications Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that enables companies to seamlessly integrate more human communications into their Web and mobile applications - creating more engaging experiences for their customers and boosting collaboration and productiv...
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal today!
SYS-CON Events announced today that BroadSoft, the leading global provider of Unified Communications and Collaboration (UCC) services to operators worldwide, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's WebRTC Summit, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. BroadSoft is the leading provider of software and services that enable mobile, fixed-line and cable service providers to offer Unified Communications over their Internet Protocol networks. The Company’s core communications platform enables the delivery of a range of enterprise and consumer calling...
SYS-CON Events announced today that robomq.io will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. robomq.io is an interoperable and composable platform that connects any device to any application. It helps systems integrators and the solution providers build new and innovative products and service for industries requiring monitoring or intelligence from devices and sensors.
Wearable technology was dominant at this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) , and MWC was no exception to this trend. New versions of favorites, such as the Samsung Gear (three new products were released: the Gear 2, the Gear 2 Neo and the Gear Fit), shared the limelight with new wearables like Pebble Time Steel (the new premium version of the company’s previously released smartwatch) and the LG Watch Urbane. The most dramatic difference at MWC was an emphasis on presenting wearables as fashion accessories and moving away from the original clunky technology associated with t...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Litmus Automation will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Litmus Automation’s vision is to provide a solution for companies that are in a rush to embrace the disruptive Internet of Things technology and leverage it for real business challenges. Litmus Automation simplifies the complexity of connected devices applications with Loop, a secure and scalable cloud platform.
In 2015, 4.9 billion connected "things" will be in use. By 2020, Gartner forecasts this amount to be 25 billion, a 410 percent increase in just five years. How will businesses handle this rapid growth of data? Hadoop will continue to improve its technology to meet business demands, by enabling businesses to access/analyze data in real time, when and where they need it. Cloudera's Chief Technologist, Eli Collins, will discuss how Big Data is keeping up with today's data demands and how in the future, data and analytics will be pervasive, embedded into every workflow, application and infra...