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Developing World-Ready Applications

When developing world-ready applications, you must focus attention on a variety of issues throughout the application design and development process. The three key issues are globalization, localizability, and localization.

Globalization is the first step in the process. A globalized application supports localized user interfaces and regional data for all users. Truly global applications should be culture-neutral and language-neutral. An intermediate step prior to localization is testing for localizability. In this step, you ensure that you have separated the application's resources that require translation from the rest of the application's code. If you correctly test for localizability before proceeding to the localization step, you should not have to modify your application's source code during localization. Localization is the last step in the process of developing a world-ready application. In this step, you customize your application for the specific cultures or regions to be supported. This step should consist primarily of translating the user interface into the target languages.

If you address globalization, localizability, and localization requirements from early on in the design phase, you will minimize the amount of time and money required to produce quality localized applications for the languages that you intend to support. The .NET Framework provides extensive support for developing world-ready applications. This topic provides information to help you design and develop world-ready applications.

For additional information, see Globalizing and Localizing Applications in the Visual Studio .NET documentation, International Support in Microsoft Windows 2000 (\_sup\_nt5.htm), and the Microsoft Global Software Development Site (

In This Section

  • System.Globalization Namespace
    Contains classes that define culture-related information, including the language, the country/region, the calendars in use, the format patterns for dates, currency, and numbers, and the sort order for strings.
  • System.Resources Namespace
    Provides classes for creating, manipulating, and using resources.
  • System.Text Namespace
    Contains classes representing ASCII, ANSI, Unicode, UTF-7, UTF-8 and other character encodings.
  • Resource File Generator (Resgen.exe)
    Describes how to use Resgen.exe to convert .txt files and .resx (XML-based resource format) files to common language runtime binary .resources files.
  • Windows Forms Resource Editor (Winres.exe)
    Describes how to use Winres.exe to quickly and easily localize Windows Forms forms.
  • ASP.NET QuickStart
    Provides the following samples in the Localization category: Setting Culture and Encoding, Localizing ASP.NET Applications, and Working with Resource Files.
  • Common Tasks QuickStart
    Provides the following Globalization and national language support (NLS) samples: CultureRegion Sample, MultipleEncodings Sample, Encoding Sample, and MultiCurrency Sample. Provides the following Resources samples: Create Resources, Use Resources, Read and Write Resources, and Make a Resource Reader.
  • Resources and Localization Using the .NET Framework SDK
    Explains how to build a .NET Framework application that uses the appropriate localized text and binary resources at runtime, depending on the user's culture.