[CS-FSLUG] International Data

Frank Bax fbax at sympatico.ca
Wed Nov 28 15:42:19 CST 2007

Josiah Ritchie wrote:
> Something new and interesting about my new position here at FIM is the
> consideration of International data. I'm in the early thoughts of
> starting up an open-source project for missionary care, I haven't come
> up with a nam yet. I'm thinking about its requirements in terms of
> database design. I figure a firm foundation would be critical and that
> means a well structured database.
> Anyway, the thing that is really floating around in my head right now
> is how a system like this would handle international contact
> information. Each country has their own postal systems and telephone
> systems. How can you store this sort of information in a database
> without creating an unpredictable mess? Usability is also a concern.
> Does anyone have any experience in this sort of thing they'd like to share?

A little; but only with my own database of family contacts.

I think there are two points to remember for postal codes:
1) What format (letters, numbers, spaces) does each country use.
2) Is code placed before or after city when addressing mail.

USA and Canada place code AFTER the city/state; from this webpage (and 
my experience), some/many places place the code BEFORE the city.


Since Canada/USA is Country code #1; you put +1 in in front of your 
USA/Canada telephone number (such as +1-800-555-1212); then you are 
using an internationally recoginized format.  Different countries might 
use dashes and/or spaces to break long numbers into smaller pieces.  I 
don't know if there is any predictability to it.  In some places, not 
all telephone numnbers are even the same length.  You could start 
reading here:


Then links in the "global" section near the end.

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