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Java Examples in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition by David Flanagan

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Handling Local Customs

The second problem of internationalization is the task of following local customs and conventions in areas such as date and time formatting. The java.text package defines classes to help with this duty.

The NumberFormat class formats numbers, monetary amounts, and percentages in a locale-dependent way for display to the user. This is necessary because different locales have different conventions for number formatting. For example, in France, a comma is used as a decimal separator instead of a period, as in many English-speaking countries. A NumberFormat object can use the default locale or any locale you specify. NumberFormat has factory methods for obtaining instances that are suitable for different purposes, such as displaying monetary quantities or percentages. In Java 1.4 and later, the java.util.Currency class can be used with NumberFormat object so that it can correctly print an appropriate currency symbol.

The DateFormat class formats dates and times in a locale-dependent way for display to the user. Different countries have different conventions. Should the month or day be displayed first? Should periods or colons separate fields of the time? What are the names of the months in the language of the locale? A DateFormat object can simply use the default locale, or it can use any locale you specify. The DateFormat class is used in conjunction with the TimeZone and Calendar classes of java.util. The TimeZone object tells the DateFormat what time zone ...

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