Think of a number. Any number. Got one? The number you just thought of is probably in a highly-specific base-10 positional system using Arabic numerals. This numeral system is pervasive.
Other numeral systems exist. You've probably seen Roman numerals. As you're visiting code.google.com, you've probably seen binary and hexadecimal formatting. There are many others (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numeral_system).
Whenever your computer displays one of those base-10 positional Arabic numbers in the form of text (look at the clock in the corner of your screen), it has to be converted from the internal binary format in memory. Whenever you enter a number (try changing the time on your clock), the text has to be parsed before your computer can do anything with it.
We can do the same with any other other numeral system. Want to find out what year MCMLXX was without knowing Roman numerals? Sure, a whole load of web-based tools exist (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=roman%20numeral%20converter). But no, or few, programming libraries exist to allow this kind of user-interaction using alternative numeral systems.
It's the aim here to provide that. Why bother? Aren't our Arabic numerals fine? Yes, they are. But in a number of situations we may want our application to understand other numeral systems:
Not everyone uses the same numeral system. The number of people not comprehending Arabic numerals is small, but the number using Arabic in combination with another is much larger (if you converted MCMLXX on your own, you're one of them). Other numeral systems have certain specific uses. They're often calendrical (MCMLXX, being 1970, probably looks like a year to you). They can be ceremonial or titular: Φίλιππος Βʹ = Philip II" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greek_numerals). If you want to implement an application relating to these uses, you may well want this library - a calendar application, for example (see a sister project at calendar-system-library). Education and historical interest - perhaps you would simply like to learn Hebrew numerals?
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These details are provided for information only. No information here is legal advice and should not be used as such.