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As the market for software expanded worldwide, various standards bodies saw the need to remove the English-only, ASCII character set emphasis of earlier software applications, and provide standards for the creation of global applications. Two distinct processes were developed to provide a framework and a consistency for this effort:
  • Internationalization (known by the acronym I18N)
  • Localization (known by the acronym L10N)
Zinc provides an easy and efficient means of internationalizing and localizing your application.
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The main focus of internationalization is to provide the ability to switch languages for an application during runtime. This should all be possible with little engineering effort and without having to recompile application code. This requires that the strings and resources that a user sees are isolated from the application source code.
Zinc fully supports internationalization, therefore an application you create using Zinc classes will also support internationalization. The Zinc Designer provides resources for easy creation of fully internationalized applications. All text used by a Zinc application can be store externally and accessed at run time.
When an application has been internationalized, it is then localized for a specific market. This is the phase when the internationalized application is adapted for a specific geographical area, by translating its text strings, and ensuring that data will be displayed in the correct local convention. At run-time, the application should select the correct language and locale based on the computer's environment settings configured by the end-user.
Zinc facilitates the translation of strings by allowing them to be edited using the Zinc Designer Language Editor. It also has classes and structures in place to store locale-specific information, and enable this information to be used at run-time.