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Zend_Locale is the Frameworks answer to the question, "How can the same application be used around the whole world?" Most people will say, "That's easy. Let's translate all our output to several languages." However, using simple translation tables to map phrases from one language to another is not sufficient. Different regions will have different conventions for first names, surnames, salutory titles, formatting of numbers, dates, times, currencies, etc.

We need Localization and complementary Internationalization. Both are often abbreviated to L10n and I18n. Internationalization refers more to support for use of systems, regardless of special needs unique to groups of users related by language, region, number format conventions, financial conventions, time and date conventions, etc. Localization involves adding explicit support to systems for special needs of these unique groups, such as language translation, and support for local customs or conventions for communicating plurals, dates, times, currencies, names, symbols, sorting and ordering, etc. L10n and I18n compliment each other. Zend Framework provides support for these through a combination of components, including Zend_Locale, Zend_Date, Zend_Measure, Zend_Translate, Zend_Currency, and Zend_TimeSync.

Zend_Locale and setLocale()

PHP's documentation states that setlocale() is not threadsave because it is maintained per process and not per thread. This means that, in multithreaded environments, you can have the problem that the locale changes while the script never has changed the locale itself. This can lead to unexpected behaviour when you use setlocale() in your scripts.

When you are using Zend_Locale you will not have this limitations, because Zend_Locale is not related to or coupled with PHP's setlocale().

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