Scotland faces a decision tomorrow: to stay or to go.
As a British citizen, this is likely to have a large impact on my life. These changes might also impact techies across the world. Here’s how.
There’s no particularly obvious available country code for Scotland, but perhaps
AB would be a good option: Alba is the Scottish Gaelic (
gd) word for Scotland. This is just my personal opinion but for the purposes of this article I’ll be using
AB as Scotland’s potential country code.
As mentioned above, this country code is what’s generally used for ccTLDs. A new
.ab domain name could, and often does, cause havoc! There will probably be a sunrise period or priority for
But where would that leave
.scot be abandoned? Would
.ab ever take off? The uncertainty may lead to poor take up of both domains or a rush to buy one of each.
.uk users keep their current domain names, or would they be keen to move over?
Assigning a country code allows for new language codes:
en_ab (English as spoken in Scotland) and
gd_ab (Scottish Gaelic as spoken in Scotland); there is no language code for the Scots language.
This could mean updating applications all over the globe to recognise the new
en_ab version of English. Not to mention if the country code for the remainder of the United Kingdom changes from
gb to something more appropriate,
uk perhaps. Applications would need to recognise
en_gb (for compatibility’s sake) as what we now think of simply as
en_gb; we have enough trouble as it is with
Perhaps, however, a new country code for Scotland would allow websites to tailor their copy to Scottish dialect.
A TLD just for Scotland could also see the birth of a more general acceptance of
What about GB?
As I swept over above, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (to give the UK its full name) would not really be the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland should Scotland leave the union. Great Britain is the island made up of the three countries (yes, countries within countries – it’s all very confusing!) of England, Scotland and Wales.
The current country code for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is
gb so perhaps after a yes vote tomorrow, the code would change to
uk (which is already reserved for the country) – which would bring the
.uk ccTLD in line with the ISO standard!
As mentioned above, language codes, however would not be such an easy transition.
As well as adding Scotland to lists of counties along with its flag, the Saltire, have you even considered the leg work involved in replacing all the flag sprites/images across the web should the UK’s flag change?
Although considered unlikely, Scotland leaving the union may lead to their removal from the Union Jack. The Union Jack (or Union Flag) is made up of the St. George’s Cross (for England and Wales), St. Andrew’s Cross/The Saltire (for Scotland) and St. Patrick’s Cross (originally for Ireland and now representing Northern Ireland).
A new flag could also filter down into other Commonwealth countries who use the Union Flag as a part of their own.