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COSMOS Design 208593

Internationalization Support - programming model

Change History

Name: Date: Revised Sections:
Jimmy Mohsin 01/3/2008
  • Initial version

Workload Estimation

Rough workload estimate in person weeks
Process Sizing Names of people doing the work
Design 1 Jimmy Mohsin
Code (not part of this ER) 4 Dev Team
Test (not part of this ER) 4 QA Team
Documentation (not part of this ER) 1
Build and infrastructure (not part of this ER) 1
Code review, etc. (not part of this ER) 1


The terminologies/acronyms below are commonly used throughout this document. The list below defines each term regarding how it is used in this document:

Term Definition
Internationalization The process of generalizing the design of a product so that it can handle multiple languages and cultural conventions without the need for making code changes for each language. COSMOS 1.0 will be internationalized for its eventual adoption and deployment
Localization The process of taking an internationalized product and making it linguistically and culturally appropriate to the target locale (country/region and language) where it will be used. COSMOS 1.0 will not be localized for any non-US English languages, this is something that the adopers will need to do.
Translatable Elements Everything intended to be locale and language dependent. These items may need to be modified for different locales, e.g. date formats, time formats, word lists for content controls, and so on.
Non-user elements Everything not intended for end-users to see and understand. This fits into two categories, proper names and internal elements. Examples of internal elements are command line commands and options, debug strings, registry keys, program file names, comments, and so on. Examples of proper names are product name, company name, and so on.
User Elements Everything intended for end-users to see and understand, e.g. menus and menu items, dialog boxes, windows, program groups, error messages, installation scripts, icons, buttons, "Display Name" and "Description" fields for services we create on Windows, and so on.


This enhancement is associated with bugzilla 208593.

The data visualization component does not follow a consisten design pattern to support internationalization. There are serveral components within the visualization project that require internationalization support:

  1. Dojo widgets
  2. Servlet data feeds
  3. XML configuration files
Dojo widgets do support i18n, as documented on For each of these components there are best practices to support internationalization; however, a common methodology is needed.

Codebase Considerations

The COSMOS code must consider the following guidelines to support i18n:

  1. Externalize all translatable elements(i.e. no hardcoding)
  2. Put translatable elements in language modules separated from executables
  3. Generalize design to support any language
  4. Dynamically select and load language module at run time
  5. Separate build process for language modules from executable
  6. Gracefully handle missing language resources
  7. Handle regional settings
    1. Date Format and Time Formats
    2. Number Formats
    3. Currency
    4. Paper Size
    5. Sort Order
  8. Clearly identify which strings should or should not be translated
  9. Avoid string concatenation
  10. Not embed text in icons and bitmaps

GUI Considerations

The COSMOS GUI must consider the following guidelines to support i18n:

  1. Dynamic user elements should be used when displaying simple layouts and text messages
  2. Dynamic user elements should not be used when special and complicated layout configurations are needed
  3. Allocating extra space as translated text may be much longer than the English text
  4. Do not split multi-byte characters

Message Handling Considerations

The COSMOS messages must consider the following guidelines to support i18n:

  1. Prefix each message with unique message-ids
  2. Label 3rd party messages when shown from COSMOS

i18n Checklist

Here is a check list to determine whether COSMOS is i18n-ready or not:

  1. Menus, dialogs and web layouts can tolerate text expansion
  2. Development language strings are reviewed for meaning and spelling to reduce user confusion and lessen translation errors
  3. Third-party software used in the product is examined for i18n support
  4. Consistent terminology is used in messages
  5. COSMOS runs properly in its base language in all target locales
  6. Strings are not assembled by concatenation of fragments
  7. Source code does not contain hard-coded character constants, numeric constants, screen positions, filenames or pathnames that assume a particular language
  8. String buffers are large enough to handle translated words and phrases
  9. East Asian editions support line-breaking rules
  10. All international editions of the program are compiled from one set of source files
  11. Localizable items are stored in resource files, message tables or message catalogues
  12. All language editions share a common file format
  13. Program handles non-homogeneous network environments where machines are operating with different encodings
  14. No assumptions are made that one character storage element represents one linguistic character
  15. Code does not use embedded font names or make assumptions about particular fonts being available
  16. Program displays and prints text using appropriate fonts
  17. Sorting and case conversion are culturally correct
  18. Application works correctly on localized editions of the target operating system(s)
  19. Specific for web internationalization:
    1. Check middle-tier components for internationalization compliance
    2. Ensure that information about encoding and locale of data is passed correctly between presentation and backend tiers

Task Breakdown

The following section includes the tasks required to complete this enhancement.

  1. Get this design approved
  2. Determine the follow in ERs needed for i9

Open Issues/Questions

All reviewer feedback should go in the Talk page for 208593.

  • Should this ER address the Language Groups issue? Or should this be deemed out of scope since COSMOS 1.0 will not address localization?
  • Where does XLIFF fit into the i18n considerations?
  • How about i18n issues OUTSIDE the code, e.g. what if COSMOS has to deal with two MDRs, each from a different continent? 13:23, 4 January 2008 (EST)XLIFF is one option for localization support in xml documents.

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