Standardizing icon names: flags

Frans Englich frans.englich at
Wed Nov 10 22:46:48 EET 2004

On Wednesday 10 November 2004 19:00, Frans Englich wrote:
> On Wednesday 10 November 2004 18:08, Matthew Garrett wrote:
> > On Wed, 2004-11-10 at 17:31 +0000, Frans Englich wrote:
> > > In concrete terms, would the names be "flag-xx" where "xx" is a
> > > two-letter code for a country, as per ISO 639.
> >
> > There is no ISO 639 letter code for Taiwan, as far as I know.
> What if we used RFC 3066? It references the ISO and IANA standards. W3C's
> XML specification uses it -- is it good enough for us too?

It probably is, but another issue becomes more apparent now; those 
specifications specifies _many_ names, to such an extent it can in cases go 
without practical value, although be theoretically useful. The problem boils 
down to: "Ok, the names should be according to RFC 3066, but how many? Should 
I create icons for _all_ those names? If not, which ones?"

I see an alternative to this flag issue, and that is to do an exception, 
compared to the other icon names. I suggest that the spec basically says:

The inclusions of icon files resembling country flags are /optional/. However, 
if they are to be included, they should be named after the pattern "flag-X" 
where X is a language code as per RFC 3066. Implementations which tries to 
open a flag icon but finds none, should display no image.

The impact would be identical to having the flag names specified, the only 
difference is that shipping "no flags", is now practically done by shipping 
no images instead blank, combined with an agreed convention on what 
implementers should do when an flag-icon is not found. However, by making it 
optional, we don't have to spec /how/ many countries that should be covered.

All the advantages of having the names in the spec is still achieved. KDE can 
for example move out its flag icons into an icon theme to avoid the flag 
discussion, for example.

(People probably think the situations is completely different now that, hey, 
the files are optional. But don't tell them.)



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