You probably know about localization. It’s something that involves translating languages, right? You have seen bug reports about the user interface from your customers in foreign countries. You have seen requests for supporting obscure languages. Why can’t they just use English?
Wake up! We’ve made some coffee.
Internationalization, or I18N, is a collection of software development practices which enable you to localize your software without engineering changes. Forget multiple binaries, language version branches in version control, and making the same bug fixes several times. Forget about bug reports about people’s names showing up wrong, mixed-up dates and months, and English-only user interfaces.
Before you even think about localization, you need to think about internationalization. But you don’t need to go out of your way to do it. We can tell you how to make it a part of your software build process.
We want to help you to fit internationalization into your software project culture. We know that you don’t want to stop the pipeline to put some foreign language stuff in there. It just needs to flow. And when we have told you how it’s done, it will.
Internationalization is like quality: you can’t make a 95-percent finished product and then take quality off the parts shelf and drop it in place. It needs to be engineered in from the start. You can’t build a beautiful house on a shaky foundation, and you can’t support the world with half-baked software.
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