Welcome!

You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Jeremy Geelan, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson

Related Topics: ColdFusion

ColdFusion: Article

Add Localization to Your Web Site

Adapting an application to a specific locale

Welcome to another installment of Extending ColdFusion. In this edition, we are going to look at one of the ways you can add localization to your Web site. What do we mean by localization? Localization or L10N (L10N is an abbreviation for the 10 letters between the "L" and "N" in localization) describes the process of adapting an application to a specific locale.

You can think of L10N as the process of applying a locale or language "skin" to an application. That can mean many things like date, currency, and number formatting; calendars; text direction, and so on. Typically localization is done after a process called internationalization. Internationalization or I18N (I18N is an abbreviation for the 18 letters between the "I" and "N" in internationalization) is the design and development of an application so that it functions in at least two locales. You can think of I18N as making an application language or locale neutral.

In this article we are going to focus on one aspect of localization, and that is the site user interface and static text. In a later edition we will talk about how dynamic content can be localized. We are going to talk specifically to the concept of "resource bundles." These are files that contain a set of translations. For example, here is a representation of a simple English resource bundle:

Cancel=Cancel
Save=Save

Not very exciting, but the basic concept here is that we have a list of keys (the strings on the left side of the equal signs) and values (the strings on the right side). This becomes clearer when we look at the French version of the bundle:

Cancel=Annuler
Save= Enregistrer

As you can see, we have the exact same keys, but the strings on the right-hand side, the actual values, are the French versions. Extending this a bit farther, you can use a larger set of keys and values, one key for each piece of text on your Web site. To add support for a new language, you simply create a new resource bundle and do the translations. You should understand that managing the translation of resource bundles can become quite a task for anything complicated. One of the more popular tools for this task is IBM's Java-based rbManager, which you can download from http://oss.software.ibm.com/icu4j/demo_tools/RBManager.html.

One note about resource bundles: we use a Java object, java.util.PropertyResourceBundle, to handle parsing in the resouce bundle. This Java object requires that the resource bundle files be encoded using escaped ASCII. For example, here is the Thai version of "Cancel": \u0E22\u0E01\u0E40\ u0E25\u0E34\u0E0. Besides the rbManager tool mentioned above, Sun provides a command-line tool, native2ascii, that handles the creation of properly escaped Unicode text. This program is included in the "bin" directory of standard Java installs. You can find documentation for it at: http://java.sun.com/j2se/1.4.1/docs/tooldocs/windows/native2ascii.html.

How do we use this in ColdFusion? Listing 1 demonstrates a simple CFC that we will use to load resource bundles and display them on our Web site. Let's begin by looking at the getResourceBundle method. This method will take a resource bundle and return a structure of keys and values. The method takes two arguments. The first argument is the file name of the resource bundle. (We actually do some magic with this argument, which I will go into a bit later.) The second argument is optional, and represents the locale. Java uses a different format for locales than ColdFusion. Notice how the default is "en_US." In CFML, this is the same as English (US).

After initializing our arguments, we then have a set of var statements. Do not forget that it is vital to var scope any variable created with a CFC method. As I said above, we are going to do some magic with the resource bundle file name. If the file doesn't exist as passed, we check to see if a locale version exists. What do we mean by that? Imagine you have a set of resource bundles in your c:\projectX\resources\text folder. Each one is named "language_en_US.properties", where the only part of the name that changes is the locale version. In other words, the French version would be "language_fr_FR.properties." The getResourceBundle method allows us to simply pass in "c:\projectX\resources\text\language.properties" as the file name. When it discovers that the file does not exist, it will automatically try to load "c:\projectX\resource\text\language_en_US.properties". This is because the rbLocale argument defaults to en_US; to load the French version you would simply pass in fr_FR.

Once the method finds the file (it will throw an error if it cannot), we then use a set of Java objects we created in the constructor area of the CFC:

<cfscript>
variables.rB = createObject("java", "java.util.PropertyResourceBundle");
variables.fis = CreateObject("java", "java.io.FileInputStream");
</cfscript>

These objects then enable getResourceBundle method to load the properties file:

variables.fis.init(arguments.rbFile);

and then initialize the PropertyResourceBundle object:

variables.rB.init(variables.fis);

Once we have done that, we can use another method, getKeys(), to get the keys of the resource bundle. We then simply loop over our keys and create a structure of the values. Once we have the structure we return it.

So, let's take a quick look at how this could be used on a sample page. Listing 2 contains a simple form, in this case, one with just a submit and cancel button. However, the labels for these buttons need to be localized. To get the correct strings, we use <cfinvoke> to get the resource bundle from a property file, and to specifically grab the fr_FR version. We can then use this returned structure to populate the values of our buttons. As you can see from the code, switching to English would be a trivial change.

Let's take a look at another method in the CFC, loadResourceBundle. This is an extremely short method. All it does is take a file and an optional locale. It calls the getResourceBundle method we described earlier, and then stores it in the CFC's local variable scope. This allows us to create an instance of the CFC and have it parse the resource bundle once.

Finally, the method getResource allows us to grab one particular string from the structure. Why would you use this when you could getResourceBundle? This method will slightly modify the result when debugMode is detected. Instead of returning just the string, it will actually return the string wrapped in * characters. Visually, this makes it easy to see which parts of your page are localized and which are not. This method will also "swallow" any errors that involve missing resources, so if you try to retrieve a resource for the French locale that doesn't exist, you will get a blank string. (This may or may not be preferable. What's nice is that you can modify the CFC to handle it differently. You may want it to retrieve the en_US version if one doesn't exist for the fr_FR version. You could also have it optionally log a warning, or e-mail a localization team.)

One more example before we end. In the code in Listing 2, we had a hard-coded locale. Normally you probably want your user to select a locale. You may think it's a good idea to store the resource bundle in the user's session scope. However, this means that every user in locale N will have a copy of the bundle, which isn't efficient. Listing 3 shows a modified version of Listing 2. This time we allow the user to select a locale. We store the user's preference, but keep the bundles stored in the application scope.

The author wishes to give special thanks to Paul Hastings, who he says is, without a doubt, the localization/internationalization master, and was a big help in writing this article. His blog can be found at http://cfg11n.blogspot.com. (Watch for a series by Paul in future issues of CFDJ.)

More Stories By Ray Camden

A longtime ColdFusion user, Raymond is a co-author of the "Mastering ColdFusion" series published by Sybex Inc, as well as the lead author for the ColdFusion MX Developer's Handbook. He also presents at numerous conferences and contributes to online webzines. He and Rob Brooks-Bilson created and run the Common Function Library Project (www.cflib.org), an open source repository of ColdFusion UDFs. Raymond has helped form three ColdFusion User Groups and is the manager of the Acadiana MMUG.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, will discuss some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he’ll go over some of the best practices for structured team migrat...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Taica will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Taica manufacturers Alpha-GEL brand silicone components and materials, which maintain outstanding performance over a wide temperature range -40C to +200C. For more information, visit http://www.taica.co.jp/english/.
SYS-CON Events announced today that MIRAI Inc. will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MIRAI Inc. are IT consultants from the public sector whose mission is to solve social issues by technology and innovation and to create a meaningful future for people.
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, will discuss how they bu...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, will discuss how from store operations...
As hybrid cloud becomes the de-facto standard mode of operation for most enterprises, new challenges arise on how to efficiently and economically share data across environments. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Dr. Allon Cohen, VP of Product at Elastifile, will explore new techniques and best practices that help enterprise IT benefit from the advantages of hybrid cloud environments by enabling data availability for both legacy enterprise and cloud-native mission critical applications. By rev...
Join IBM November 1 at 21st Cloud Expo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, and learn how IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Cognitive analysis impacts today’s systems with unparalleled ability that were previously available only to manned, back-end operations. Thanks to cloud processing, IBM Watson can bring cognitive services and AI to intelligent, unmanned systems. Imagine a robot vacuum that becomes your personal assistant tha...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datera will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datera offers a radically new approach to data management, where innovative software makes data infrastructure invisible, elastic and able to perform at the highest level. It eliminates hardware lock-in and gives IT organizations the choice to source x86 server nodes, with business model option...
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing Cloud strategies, now is the perfect time to attend 21st Cloud Expo October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, CA, and June 12-14, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is on the right path to Digital Transformation.
Infoblox delivers Actionable Network Intelligence to enterprise, government, and service provider customers around the world. They are the industry leader in DNS, DHCP, and IP address management, the category known as DDI. We empower thousands of organizations to control and secure their networks from the core-enabling them to increase efficiency and visibility, improve customer service, and meet compliance requirements.
Digital transformation is changing the face of business. The IDC predicts that enterprises will commit to a massive new scale of digital transformation, to stake out leadership positions in the "digital transformation economy." Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, Oct 31-Nov 2, will find fresh new content in a new track called Enterprise Cloud & Digital Transformation.
SYS-CON Events announced today that N3N will exhibit at SYS-CON's @ThingsExpo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. N3N’s solutions increase the effectiveness of operations and control centers, increase the value of IoT investments, and facilitate real-time operational decision making. N3N enables operations teams with a four dimensional digital “big board” that consolidates real-time live video feeds alongside IoT sensor data a...
SYS-CON Events announced today that NetApp has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. NetApp is the data authority for hybrid cloud. NetApp provides a full range of hybrid cloud data services that simplify management of applications and data across cloud and on-premises environments to accelerate digital transformation. Together with their partners, NetApp emp...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of hybrid cloud enablement solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere Systems was created by file systems experts determined to reinvent storage by changing the way enterprises thought about and bought storage resources. With decades of experience behind the company’s founders, Avere got its ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Avere Systems, a leading provider of enterprise storage for the hybrid cloud, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 - Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Avere delivers a more modern architectural approach to storage that doesn't require the overprovisioning of storage capacity to achieve performance, overspending on expensive storage media for inactive data or the overbui...
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ryobi Systems will exhibit at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Ryobi Systems Co., Ltd., as an information service company, specialized in business support for local governments and medical industry. We are challenging to achive the precision farming with AI. For more information, visit http:...
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, will discuss how by using...
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...