Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Web Forms and ISO 3166 country codes

Web Forms and ISO 3166 country codes: "anomalies have occurred as the result of using ISO 3166 country codes. Worse yet, they are part of the 'Domain Name System' as ccTLD (country code Top Level Domains). The founders of the internet just simply used the ISO 3166 codes rather then get involved in the politics of developing the Domain Name Standards. I have actually read comments posted on the internet, by other Developers/Programmers, to simply use these standards without question and if it's not suitable for the application to pass the blame along to the ISO.

Why ISO 3166 was ever developed the way it was, is beyond belief. Now there's more bad news on the way, I recently came upon Verisign's experimental use of ISO 3166-2 Country and Country Subdivision codes. It does not get any better here. The manner in which ISO 3166-2 details the subdivisions of the United Kingdom is so poor, that the United Nations opted to use the British Standard BS 6879 in it's UN/LOCODE system. Here's a direct quote from Part 3 of the UN/LOCODE MANUAL

'The subdivision of United Kingdom contained in ISO 3166-2/1998 is not suitable for the purposes of UN/LOCODE. For this reason, the code list below is based on the previous British Standard BS 6879.'

This sounds like a very polite way of stating how bad ISO 3166-2 is in regards to the 'United Kingdom'.

GENUKI: Country and County Codes - British Isles


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