Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Elizabeth White, Scott Allen, Liz McMillan, Thanh Tran, Carmen Gonzalez

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: 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
WebRTC is bringing significant change to the communications landscape that will bridge the worlds of web and telephony, making the Internet the new standard for communications. Cloud9 took the road less traveled and used WebRTC to create a downloadable enterprise-grade communications platform that is changing the communication dynamic in the financial sector. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Leo Papadopoulos, CTO of Cloud9, will discuss the importance of WebRTC and how it enables companies to fo...
Designing IoT applications is complex, but deploying them in a scalable fashion is even more complex. A scalable, API first IaaS cloud is a good start, but in order to understand the various components specific to deploying IoT applications, one needs to understand the architecture of these applications and figure out how to scale these components independently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nara Rajagopalan is CEO of Accelerite, will discuss the fundamental architecture of IoT applications, ...
SYS-CON Events announced today TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget is the Web’s leading destination for serious technology buyers researching and making enterprise technology decisions. Its extensive global networ...
Korean Broadcasting System (KBS) will feature the upcoming 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo in a New York news documentary about the "New IT for the Future." The documentary will cover how big companies are transmitting or adopting the new IT for the future and will be filmed on the expo floor between June 7-June 9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. KBS has long been a leader in the development of the broadcasting culture of Korea. As the key public service broadcaster of Korea...
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
What a difference a year makes. Organizations aren’t just talking about IoT possibilities, it is now baked into their core business strategy. With IoT, billions of devices generating data from different companies on different networks around the globe need to interact. From efficiency to better customer insights to completely new business models, IoT will turn traditional business models upside down. In the new customer-centric age, the key to success is delivering critical services and apps wit...
The essence of data analysis involves setting up data pipelines that consist of several operations that are chained together – starting from data collection, data quality checks, data integration, data analysis and data visualization (including the setting up of interaction paths in that visualization). In our opinion, the challenges stem from the technology diversity at each stage of the data pipeline as well as the lack of process around the analysis.
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices 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 y...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will discuss the vast to...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu, a leading provider of cloud hosting solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to foc...
SYS-CON Events announced today the How to Create Angular 2 Clients for the Cloud Workshop, being held June 7, 2016, in conjunction with 18th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Angular 2 is a complete re-write of the popular framework AngularJS. Programming in Angular 2 is greatly simplified. Now it’s a component-based well-performing framework. The immersive one-day workshop led by Yakov Fain, a Java Champion and a co-founder of the IT consultancy Farata Systems and...
Customer experience has become a competitive differentiator for companies, and it’s imperative that brands seamlessly connect the customer journey across all platforms. With the continued explosion of IoT, join us for a look at how to build a winning digital foundation in the connected era – today and in the future. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Nguyen, Group Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how to successfully leverage mobile, rapidly deploy content, capture real-time d...
IoT generates lots of temporal data. But how do you unlock its value? How do you coordinate the diverse moving parts that must come together when developing your IoT product? What are the key challenges addressed by Data as a Service? How does cloud computing underlie and connect the notions of Digital and DevOps What is the impact of the API economy? What is the business imperative for Cognitive Computing? Get all these questions and hundreds more like them answered at the 18th Cloud Expo...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that 24Notion has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. 24Notion is full-service global creative digital marketing, technology and lifestyle agency that combines strategic ideas with customized tactical execution. With a broad understand of the art of traditional marketing, new media, communications and social influence, 24Notion uniquely understands how to con...
The demand for organizations to expand their infrastructure to multiple IT environments like the cloud, on-premise, mobile, bring your own device (BYOD) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to grow. As this hybrid infrastructure increases, the challenge to monitor the security of these systems increases in volume and complexity. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stephen Coty, Chief Security Evangelist at Alert Logic, will show how properly configured and managed security architecture can...