Understanding Localization in .NET Framework

Localization in .NET is a process which enables people of different cultures, languages and nationalities to access a website. The .NET Framework has some good features which enhance the process of localization. For example, the strings, dates, and numbers are internally locale aware which when printed or validated works according to the localization setting.


One of the main activities involved in localization is, the localization of text. For localizing the text, you can use the resource managers that are available in .NET. To retrieve the string resources, the resource managers use the main assembly and the language based satellite assemblies. The main assembly will be the main executable file, when you write standalone executables. The main assembly will be a DLL accessible by an IIS, when you write a Web application or a Web service. The satellite assembly is a DLL that contains only the resource settings. There is a minimum of one satellite assembly DLL for each language. As the satellite assembly DLLs and the main assembly remain separated from each other, it is simple to drop in multi-language support, as the development process progresses.

You can build text localization using a single resource file for the entire project. But, if the project has multiple modules and more number of people working on the project, a single resource file imposes difficulties such as, more number of entries in one file, checkin or checkout contention for multiple developers and also difficulty in finding the text string keys you need. To avoid the above problems, multiple resource files can be used one for each module or even one for each page. The resources files that are automatically generated by the IDE may be used for the big project. As these autogenerated files are hidden and no simple API is available to retrieve the resources from multiple resource files, it is difficult to use these files.

Before starting a localization process, remember the following points:
• Developer access to localized keys.
• Developer utilities to retrieve localized keys.
• Developer access to localized resources for updating.
• Transcriber access to localized resources.
• Making satellite assemblies.
• Recommended conventions.

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