Tuesday Sep 23, 2014

The Minimum you Need to Know about Internationalization

Internationalization (i18n). A vital aspect to development of enterprise applications in today's world. Without i18n at the core of development activity, product globalization would be impossible, feature localization a nightmare, and UI translation turned into a twisted joke on the eventual end user. True, thanks to the baked-in world-ready goodness of Unicode and Java itself, much of the pain we've endured in the past when it came to internationalization is gone. But...

It's still good to know the basics, and... there's still a lot of legacy stuff out there that needs to be integrated with, or needs to be rebuilt to work in, the cloud.

So, here's a great little blog post from John O'Conner (@joconner) on the absolute minimum you should know about internationalization.

John's an experienced Java and Android head, and an i18n veteran too. Yes, he really was doing i18n before it was cool!

Let's keep the following kinds of experiences behind us forever:

Realworld example of i18n #fail

A real-world example from ye olde days of #i18nfail. Character encoding failure, hard-coded line-breaks, no expansion space, no externalization from the SQL, it's a classic! Circa 1998 I think. The content has been reworked to protect the näive at the time.

To explore more about Oracle ADF internationalization, then head on over to the ADF Architecture TV YouTube channel and check out what our own Frédéric Desbiens (@blueberrycoder) has to say in his awesome series of recordings.

Thursday May 22, 2014

Oracle ADF and Simplified UI Apps: I18n Feng Shui on Display

I demoed the Hebrew language version of Oracle Sales Cloud Release 8 live in Israel recently, and the crowd was yet again wowed by the simplified UI (SUI).

I’ve now spent some time playing around with most of the 23 languages, the NLS (Natural Language Support) versions, as we’d call them, available in Release 8.

Hebrew language Oracle Sales Cloud UI Release 8

Hebrew Oracle Sales Cloud Release 8

The simplified UI is built using 100% Oracle ADF. The framework is a great solution for developers to productively build tablet-first, mobility-driven apps for users who work in natural languages other than English.

Oracle ADF’s internationalization (i18n) support leverages Java and Unicode and also packs more i18n goodness such as Bi-Di (or bi-directional) flipping of pages, locale-enabled resource bundles, date and time support, and so on.

Spanish and Hebrew Simplified UIs Bi-Directional Components Compared

Comparing Spanish (left) and Hebrew Bi-Di (right) page components in the simplified UI.
Note the change in the direction of the arrows and alignment of the text.

So, developers don’t have to do anything special with regard to ADF components thanks to this baked-in UX Feng Shui, as Grant Ronald of the ADF team would say to the UK Oracle User Group.

Find out more from Frédéric Desbiens (@blueberrycoder) about ADF i18n on the ADF Architecture TV YouTube channel and check out the Developer's Guide.

Thursday Nov 21, 2013

Shout-out for Oracle Cloud and Fusion Apps Multilingual Support: Pseudo-translation Explained

Ever heard the acronym "MLS" used in the context of Oracle E-Business Suite, Fusion or Cloud Service applications, and wondered what it meant? It stands for Multilingual Support. The Fusion Applications Developer Relations blog has the architecture details and is worth a read.

The business significance of MLS, along with the applications' translations known as National Language Support (or NLS) versions, and the localizations support required for doing business in different countries and regions, is that Oracle customers can run applications in different ways to suit their business requirements.

MLS architecture provides for such requirements common in the business world as when a multi-national customer needs the same application to support a wide variety of national languages, countries or regions globally, or where a customer needs an application user interface in one national language (the language of business, English for example) but to needs enter, store, view, and publish data in other national languages. The applications can be patched easily and safely (see how the tables separate logic from translatable strings) too. You can read more about the subject in my blog on the Oracle E-Business Suite features and capabilities for global user experience.

Those "Ω'+++ '+++ '+Ø" characters you can see in the table in the developer relations blog are, in fact, the ends of what we call pseudo-translated strings. This technique of automatically padding, or adding extra, or special characters to source strings ones is used in development environments to simulate what happens when an application is translated and deployed globally.

Pseudo-translated strings simulate text expansion (strings usually get longer than the source U.S. English ones by varying lengths) and that nothing gets truncated or misplaced in the UI, are a check for multi-byte (now Unicode) character set support, bi-directionality (or Bi-Di) enablement (for Arabic and Hebrew languages, for example), and are used to detect hard-coded source strings that cannot be accessed by the translation tool (in other words, will be left in English).

The pseudo-translated version of the application must be tested in a suitable environment with realistic data by development teams and tools. If something breaks in the environment during this functional testing then it can be fixed before translation, rather than finding out the hard way, after implementation. Oracle applications uses pseudo-translation simulations for Latin character-based languages, Asian-based characters, and for Bi-Di ones too.

You can find out the basics of making internationalized and easily translatable enterprise applications that meet the needs of local workers and global businesses, and about using best practices such as pseudo-translation and more, in my SlideShare presentation delivered at the Action Week for Global Information Sharing at the Localisation Research Centre in Ireland, a few years ago. 


About

Oracle Applications Cloud global user experience (UX): Culture, localization, internationalization, language, personalization, more. A globally-savvy UX making it all fit together for Oracle's worldwide partners and customers.

Audience: Enterprise applications translation and localization topics for the user experience professional (designers, engineers, developers, researchers)!
Profile

Ultan Ó Broin. Director, Global Applications User Experience, Oracle Corporation. On Twitter: @localization

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