Country Representation: ISO 3166, INTL codes

  • Summary: The standards for representing country information in production systems are:
    • For country identification in external-facing interfaces: ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country codes (mandatory).
    • For country identification in Company internal use: ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country codes (standard). INTL codes (obsolescent).
  • Details:
    • In public APIs and documentation. the term "region" should be used instead of "country" because ISO 3166 has codes for several regions that are not countries. such as Hong Kong and Puerto Rico.
    • For legal and business reasons, Company products will generally only support a subset of the countries identified in ISO 3166.
  • More Info: Language and Country identification, ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country codes. ESG discussion page on this standard .

  • Status: MANDATORY STANDARD, approved 2008-10-14, sign-off completed 2008-11-10.

  • Scope: This standard defines the identification to be used for countries in all production systems.

  • Rationale: Traditionally, Company has used INTL codes to represent the limited set of country/language combinations (or markets) that Company supports and does business with. INTL codes were adequate when the set of Company markets was small and we supported only one or a few languages in each country. Supporting India and its dozen major languages would stretch the system. Most importantly. however, INTL codes are unknown outside of Company, easily confused (but incompatible) with ISO 3166 country codes. and. because of the limited set available. too restrictive for public APIs. ISO 3166 country codes are widely used to identify countries and country-like territories.

  • Related Standards and Practices: Language Representation, Time Zone Representation.

  • ESG Contact: Norbert L

  • Engineering Contact: Internationalization Architects (trailblazers-core@company)

  • Objectives and Requirements:
    • Support correct representation of country information.
    • Select a naming convention for identification of countries that supports accurate, platform-independent storage of country information as well as interchange throughout Company and with third parties. and that is extensible to accommodate future changes.
    • Support user language preferences.

  • FAQ:
    • Q: Can properties such as Olympics still use the IOC country codes? A: The IOC country codes identify national olympic committees or teams participating in the Olympics. These entities don't always correspond to countries, so it's not possible to define a 1:1 mapping between IOC codes and (a subset of) the ISO 3166 country codes. Since the IOC codes don't directly identify countries. the use of ISO 3166 is not required.
Topic revision: r2 - 29 Mar 2014, VickiBrown
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