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Re: Phone numbers / Was: Postal address layouts?

From: Pascal J . Bourguignon
Subject: Re: Phone numbers / Was: Postal address layouts?
Date: Sat, 6 Sep 2003 08:02:41 +0200

David Wetzel writes:
> Hi,
> each address should have a format. The format may be different in
> each country.  A good application could have bundles or format
> defines for each country.

A better one would leave it to the user.

Even if the postal administration of  a given country has a norm about
it, sometimes  it's better to let  the recipient write  and format his
own address.   For example,  where I  live, there is  no number,  in a
street that is 20 km long!  The buildings are identified by names, and
of course, there are several buildings with the same name (some belong
to a differently named "building  group").  For current mail, I've set
up  a  postal  address,  but   for  deliveries,  there's  a  need  for
additionnal routing information, and I can say that I'm yet to find an
eCommerce  site  where  I  can  write  my full  address  AND  find  it
transcribed entirely  on the packages.  Happily, with  GSM phones, now
the delivery man can call to  get the final instruction once he's lost
arround here...

> Telefone numbers are also an issue. The Germans write
> (03 30 56) 8 28 34
> in France this would be
> (I am not sure about the zero)
> US numbers are like that:
> 033-056-828-34
> you should store it as +49 33056 82834.
> There is a parser for phone numbers on Lutz Donnerhacke's home page.

Yes, phones are a mess too.  But there is one format that is absolute:
the  international  format.  Write  a  '+'  to  denote it,  write  the
"country" code, and write the  digits needed after the "country" code.
Locally, people  will know  what digits to  remove and what  digits to
add, starting from the internationnal phone number.

Why  the digits  inside  the  parenthesis don't  belong  to the  phone
number?  For  example, in France, that  would be: (0)xxx  yyy zzz. The
international number would be: +33 xxx yyy zzz.  Most people in France
would compose 0 xxx yyy zzz, but  the '0' is actually a quirk from the
main operator, it's the digit to get out of it.  Numbers starting with
a  different digit are  internal services  specific to  this operator.
Some  other operators use  the digit  '7' to  get out  of them  so the
number would  become 7 xxx  yyy zzz.  In  Spain, they don't  have such
schenanigans: +34  xxx yyy zzz, and  you compose directly  xxx yyy zzz
with the main operators, (or something like 0tttt xxx yyy zzz when you
want  to select  another operator):  these digits  and  their presence
depends on  from where or from  which operator or  thru which operator
you call.

Finally, the  ITU has  a norm which  specifies that phone  numbers are
stored  on 28 digits:  21 for  the phone  number and  7 for  the phone
extension (in ISDN for example). If  you write the '*' to separate the
phone number  from the extension,  you need 29 characters,  and that's
it: a phone number is a sequence of 29 characters, usually just digits
and one '*'.  Same as  with the postal address, unless you're writting
a telephone exchange, you don't mess with them.

__Pascal_Bourguignon__                   http://www.informatimago.com/
Do not adjust your mind, there is a fault in reality.

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