Click here to close now.


You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

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

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:


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:

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

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:

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 "", where the only part of the name that changes is the locale version. In other words, the French version would be "" The getResourceBundle method allows us to simply pass in "c:\projectX\resources\text\" as the file name. When it discovers that the file does not exist, it will automatically try to load "c:\projectX\resource\text\". 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:

variables.rB = createObject("java", "java.util.PropertyResourceBundle");
variables.fis = CreateObject("java", "");

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


and then initialize the PropertyResourceBundle object:


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 (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 (, 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
Through WebRTC, audio and video communications are being embedded more easily than ever into applications, helping carriers, enterprises and independent software vendors deliver greater functionality to their end users. With today’s business world increasingly focused on outcomes, users’ growing calls for ease of use, and businesses craving smarter, tighter integration, what’s the next step in delivering a richer, more immersive experience? That richer, more fully integrated experience comes about through a Communications Platform as a Service which allows for messaging, screen sharing, video...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Dyn, the worldwide leader in Internet Performance, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Dyn is a cloud-based Internet Performance company. Dyn helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Through a world-class network and unrivaled, objective intelligence into Internet conditions, Dyn ensures traffic gets delivered faster, safer, and more reliably than ever.
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new data-driven world, marketplaces reign supreme while interoperability, APIs and applications deliver un...
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
There are so many tools and techniques for data analytics that even for a data scientist the choices, possible systems, and even the types of data can be daunting. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Harrold, Global CTO for Big Data Solutions for EMC Corporation, will show how to perform a simple, but meaningful analysis of social sentiment data using freely available tools that take only minutes to download and install. Participants will get the download information, scripts, and complete end-to-end walkthrough of the analysis from start to finish. Participants will also be given the pract...
The IoT market is on track to hit $7.1 trillion in 2020. The reality is that only a handful of companies are ready for this massive demand. There are a lot of barriers, paint points, traps, and hidden roadblocks. How can we deal with these issues and challenges? The paradigm has changed. Old-style ad-hoc trial-and-error ways will certainly lead you to the dead end. What is mandatory is an overarching and adaptive approach to effectively handle the rapid changes and exponential growth.
Today’s connected world is moving from devices towards things, what this means is that by using increasingly low cost sensors embedded in devices we can create many new use cases. These span across use cases in cities, vehicles, home, offices, factories, retail environments, worksites, health, logistics, and health. These use cases rely on ubiquitous connectivity and generate massive amounts of data at scale. These technologies enable new business opportunities, ways to optimize and automate, along with new ways to engage with users.
Internet of Things (IoT) will be a hybrid ecosystem of diverse devices and sensors collaborating with operational and enterprise systems to create the next big application. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Bramh Gupta, founder and CEO of, and Fred Yatzeck, principal architect leading product development at, discussed how choosing the right middleware and integration strategy from the get-go will enable IoT solution developers to adapt and grow with the industry, while at the same time reduce Time to Market (TTM) by using plug and play capabilities offered by a robust IoT ...
Mobile messaging has been a popular communication channel for more than 20 years. Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen invented the idea for SMS (Short Message Service) in 1984, making his vision a reality on December 3, 1992 by sending the first message ("Happy Christmas") from a PC to a cell phone. Since then, the technology has evolved immensely, from both a technology standpoint, and in our everyday uses for it. Originally used for person-to-person (P2P) communication, i.e., Sally sends a text message to Betty – mobile messaging now offers tremendous value to businesses for customer and empl...
Can call centers hang up the phones for good? Intuitive Solutions did. WebRTC enabled this contact center provider to eliminate antiquated telephony and desktop phone infrastructure with a pure web-based solution, allowing them to expand beyond brick-and-mortar confines to a home-based agent model. It also ensured scalability and better service for customers, including MUY! Companies, one of the country's largest franchise restaurant companies with 232 Pizza Hut locations. This is one example of WebRTC adoption today, but the potential is limitless when powered by IoT.
You have your devices and your data, but what about the rest of your Internet of Things story? Two popular classes of technologies that nicely handle the Big Data analytics for Internet of Things are Apache Hadoop and NoSQL. Hadoop is designed for parallelizing analytical work across many servers and is ideal for the massive data volumes you create with IoT devices. NoSQL databases such as Apache HBase are ideal for storing and retrieving IoT data as “time series data.”
Clearly the way forward is to move to cloud be it bare metal, VMs or containers. One aspect of the current public clouds that is slowing this cloud migration is cloud lock-in. Every cloud vendor is trying to make it very difficult to move out once a customer has chosen their cloud. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Naveen Nimmu, CEO of Clouber, Inc., will advocate that making the inter-cloud migration as simple as changing airlines would help the entire industry to quickly adopt the cloud without worrying about any lock-in fears. In fact by having standard APIs for IaaS would help PaaS expl...
SYS-CON Events announced today that ProfitBricks, the provider of painless cloud infrastructure, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. ProfitBricks is the IaaS provider that offers a painless cloud experience for all IT users, with no learning curve. ProfitBricks boasts flexible cloud servers and networking, an integrated Data Center Designer tool for visual control over the cloud and the best price/performance value available. ProfitBricks was named one of the coolest Clo...
Organizations already struggle with the simple collection of data resulting from the proliferation of IoT, lacking the right infrastructure to manage it. They can't only rely on the cloud to collect and utilize this data because many applications still require dedicated infrastructure for security, redundancy, performance, etc. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Emil Sayegh, CEO of Codero Hosting, will discuss how in order to resolve the inherent issues, companies need to combine dedicated and cloud solutions through hybrid hosting – a sustainable solution for the data required to manage I...
NHK, Japan Broadcasting, will feature the upcoming @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley in a special 'Internet of Things' and smart technology documentary that will be filmed on the expo floor between November 3 to 5, 2015, in Santa Clara. NHK is the sole public TV network in Japan equivalent to the BBC in the UK and the largest in Asia with many award-winning science and technology programs. Japanese TV is producing a documentary about IoT and Smart technology and will be covering @ThingsExpo Silicon Valley. The program, to be aired during the peak viewership season of the year, will have a major impac...
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate at IBM Cloud Data Services, will demonstrate techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk will be on IBM Cloudant, Apa...
WebRTC is about the data channel as much as about video and audio conferencing. However, basically all commercial WebRTC applications have been built with a focus on audio and video. The handling of “data” has been limited to text chat and file download – all other data sharing seems to end with screensharing. What is holding back a more intensive use of peer-to-peer data? In her session at @ThingsExpo, Dr Silvia Pfeiffer, WebRTC Applications Team Lead at National ICT Australia, will look at different existing uses of peer-to-peer data sharing and how it can become useful in a live session to...
As a company adopts a DevOps approach to software development, what are key things that both the Dev and Ops side of the business must keep in mind to ensure effective continuous delivery? In his session at DevOps Summit, Mark Hydar, Head of DevOps, Ericsson TV Platforms, will share best practices and provide helpful tips for Ops teams to adopt an open line of communication with the development side of the house to ensure success between the two sides.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM Cloud Data Services has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 17th Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IBM Cloud Data Services offers a portfolio of integrated, best-of-breed cloud data services for developers focused on mobile computing and analytics use cases.
"Matrix is an ambitious open standard and implementation that's set up to break down the fragmentation problems that exist in IP messaging and VoIP communication," explained John Woolf, Technical Evangelist at Matrix, in this interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.