Developing Global Applications

This topic presents an introduction to developing applications for multiple languages and cultures.

Creating a world-ready application is essentially a two-step process. Globalization is the first step in this process. In this phase, the application's executable code is written. A truly global application should be both culture-neutral and language-neutral. Therefore, you should focus attention on creating an application that will be able to support localized user interfaces and regional data for all users. Although a globalized application has this flexibility, the globalization process itself does not involve translating the user interface. Instead, you should strive to create an application with functionality that works equally well for users from all of the regions and cultures that your application supports.

The globalization process itself does not involve translating the user interface.

The second and final step in building a world-ready application is known as localization. This is the phase during which you customize the application for specific languages, cultures, and regions. If you have performed the globalization tasks correctly and carefully, the actual localization process should consist primarily of translating your application's user interface for the various nationalities that will be using your software.

The Microsoft® .NET Micro Framework provides the essential classes for writing truly globalized applications for small, embedded systems in hardware devices. You will find these classes in the System.Globalization namespace. These classes define a range of culture-related information, including data pertaining to languages, countries/regions, and format patterns for dates, currency, and numbers.

In addition, the .NET Micro Framework offers some of the classes from the System.Text namespace. You can use these classes in your programs to support the appropriate character sets for the countries, cultures, and locales to which you want to target your application.