[uf-discuss] First version of Currency proposal

Scott Reynen scott at randomchaos.com
Thu Oct 12 07:18:29 PDT 2006

On Oct 12, 2006, at 7:35 AM, Al Gilman wrote:

>> <span class="money"><abbr class="amount" title="0.99">99</abbr><abbr
>> class="currency" title="USD">¢</abbr></span>
> This is the sort of absurdity that the credit card advertisers
> engage in.

I'm not sure what this means.  Do you not think 99¢ means  
fundamentally the same thing as 0.99USD?

> What you see is 99 and what you get is less than 1.

That's only true if you consider the value outside the context of the  
currency, and I don't know why anyone would do that.  "99" is a  
meaningless monetary value without a currency assigned.  If the  
currency is going to be optional, I think it at least needs to be  
implied.  Otherwise we just have a number with no idea what it  
means.  And if there's an established currency, then why not use the  
unit already explicitly defined by that currency's ISO 4217 code?   
Why throw away the "D" in "USD"?

> Don't go there.  Maintain the functional integrity of the
> construction, or you will generate lots of errors through
> uncomprehending use.

In my above example, the publisher only needs to understand the  
relationship between dollars and cents (just like I need to  
understand the relationship between "January 1, 2000" and  
"2000-01-01").  In the example with an additional units property, the  
publisher only needs to know the standard symbol for their unit of  
choice (e.g. "cent").  I think the former knowledge is much more  
common than the latter.

We don't even know the latter ourselves.  If we're going to allow  
various units within any given currency, how would publishers (and  
parsers) know which units are commonly accepted, and what are the  
common symbols for identifying those units?  Are we going to create  
our own list of every possible currency unit?  If there isn't an  
existing standard here, that might be a good indication that there  
isn't a need for a standard here, because conversion to the default  
unit is a common and trivial practice.

How many currencies are we even talking about here anyway?  Looking  
at the ISO 4217 list, it seems to me most of these currencies (maybe  
80%?) only have one unit to choose, which suggests to me that  
allowing for communication in other units is an unnecessary  
complication.  Are there really enough multi-unit currencies that  
it's worth trying to standardize the non-default units?


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