Globalization and Localization

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Globalization and Localization
Sunday, June 2, 2013PrintSubscribe
Globalization and Localization

Globalization is the process of designing and developing applications that function for multiple cultures. Localization is the process of customizing your application for a given culture and locale. The topics in this section describe how to create ASP.NET web applications that can be adapted to different languages and cultures.

Learn more about globalization and localization of ASP.NET web applications at


Code On Time web app generator allows explicit definition of globalization options in the Project Wizard.

Globalization and Localization page of Project Wizard.

Each application has a default culture. Unlimited edition of Code On Time allows specifying additional cultures. The browser culture will be detected and used, if available. The user may also manually specify the culture using the Language selector dropdown in the top right corner of the web app.


At run-time, the client library automatically replaces text elements wrapped in “localization tokens” when the culture is different from the default. The translations are stored as text constants in resource files. The client library matches the culture to the end of the text file name. For example, when the culture is changed to Canadian English, the client library will find translations in files that end with “en-CA.txt”.

For example, let’s examine the standard Welcome user control that is present in every web app. Notice that each text block is wrapped in a descriptive word surrounded by the carat (^) character.

<div style="padding-left: 8px">
    <div class="ParaInfo">
        ^SignInInstruction^Sign in to access the protected site content.^SignInInstruction^
    <div class="ParaHeader">
    <div class="ParaText">
        ^SignInPara1^Two standard user accounts are automatically created when application is initialized if membership option has been selected for this application.^SignInPara1^

    <div class="ParaText">
        ^SignInPara2^The administrative account <b>admin</b> is authorized to access all areas of the web site and membership manager. The standard <b>user</b> account is allowed to access all areas of the web site with the exception of membership manager.^SignInPara2^

    <div class="ParaText">
        ^SignInPara3^Move the mouse pointer over the link <i>Login to this web site</i> on the right-hand side at the top of the page and sign in with one of the accounts listed below.^SignInPara3^

    <div class="ParaText">
        <div style="border: solid 1px black; background-color: InfoBackground; padding: 8px; float: left;">
            ^AdminDesc^Administrative account^AdminDesc^:<br />
            <b title="User Name">admin</b> / <b title="Password">admin123%</b>
            <br />
            <br />
            ^UserDesc^Standard user account^UserDesc^:<br />
            <b title="User Name">user</b> / <b title="Password">user123%</b>
        <div style="clear: both; margin-bottom: 8px"></div>

Let’s provide our own translations for the “en-CA” culture that will replace the text wrapped in tags.

Customizing Localization

Start the web app generator and click on the project name. Select Settings, and then click on Globalization and Localization. In the Supported Culture Sets text box, enter the following:

Property Value
Supported Culture Sets en-US; en-CA;

Press Finish and regenerate the web app. When complete, click on the project name and press Open to open the project folder. In the search box, type in “en-CA.txt”. This will reveal all translation files for the “en-CA” culture.

All localization files for 'en-CA' culture.

Open the file “Welcome.ascx.en-CA.txt”. Notice that each element is wrapped in named tags surrounded by the carat (^) symbol. The client library will match the tags with those in the Welcome user control and replace the text at run-time.

Make the highlighted changes:

Your application uses this file to locate resource strings defined
in Welcome.ascx project item.

Replace the text between localization brackets as needed.

^AdminDesc^This is the Canadian Administrative account^AdminDesc^

^SignInHeader^Canadian Instructions^SignInHeader^

^SignInInstruction^Sign in to access the protected site content.^SignInInstruction^

^SignInPara1^Two standard user accounts are automatically created when application is initialized
    if membership option has been selected for this application.^SignInPara1^

^SignInPara2^The administrative account <b>admin</b> is authorized to access all areas of the
    web site and membership manager. The standard <b>user</b> account is allowed to
    access all areas of the web site with the exception of membership manager.^SignInPara2^

^SignInPara3^Move the mouse pointer over the link <i>Login to this web site</i> on the right-hand side
    at the top of the page and sign in with one of the accounts listed below.^SignInPara3^

^UserDesc^Standard user account^UserDesc^

Save the file, and switch to the application open in the browser. Refresh the Home page. Use the Language dropdown in the top-right corner to change to English (Canada). Note that the changes made previously have been applied to the text in the Welcome control on the right side of the page.

Custom translations are applied for the Welcome user control.

In addition to any text translations, any money or date formatting for the culture will be used as well. If the culture supports right-to-left, the website will be formatted accordingly.

Preserving Localization Between Code Generation Library Updates

Code generation library updates automatically replace the previous versions of the code generation files. A backup of the web app can be restored from [My Documents]\Code OnTime\Backup when it happens. You can create a copy of your localizations and restore them after each update.

You can also submit the completed localization file sets to Code On Time for inclusion in the general distribution of the code generation library. The localization file sets will be shared with the community and will get installed automatically with each update. If you have localizations to contribute, please zip up the files and submit a ticket.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012PrintSubscribe
Automated Translation

Code On Time supports automated translation of web application resources from English to other languages with the help of Google Translate API.

You can create a multi-lingual web application by specifying a collection of additional culture sets required for your application.

Start the application generator, select the project name, and choose Settings project action.

Click on Globalization and Localization option.

Select the default culture set for your application using the drop downs and list any additional cultures in Supported Culture Sets text box.

Enter the Google Translate API Key in the input field. Note that the key in the picture is not real.

Globalization and Localization Project Settings

The support culture sets can optionally start with the default culture selected in the drop downs. The culture set specifies the culture used for internal calculations and the culture of the user interface. Both cultures in a culture set are separated by a comma.

Multiple culture sets can be listed one per line or separated with the semicolon.

This culture set will enable English (US) and Spanish (Mexico).

en-US,en-US; es-MX,es-MX;

The generated web application will offer a language selector on the membership bar.

The screen shot below shows the page presented in Spanish with translated system resources.


Various column labels and page titles are not translated.

Supposes you want to translate the title of the page Customers.

Start the application generator and select the project name, click Design.

Select Customers page in Project Explorer and change Title, Path, Description, and About This Page properties as follows.

^ViewCust^View Customers^ViewCust^
About This Page:
^CustDesc^This page allows management of customers.^CustDesc^

Localization tokens are “wrapping” the actual text written in English.

Localization tokens in page properties

Save the changes, exit the Designer and re-generate the application.

Select Spanish as the application language.

Language selector in Code On Time web application.

The translations of resources wrapped in localization tokens will show up in the user interface.

Translated page properties in action.

Monday, June 27, 2011PrintSubscribe
Globalization and Localization

Code On Time web application generator creates standard ASP.NET web projects and web sites, which take full advantage of ASP.NET globalization infrastructure. Globalization in ASP.NET has been perfected by Microsoft to allow creation of web applications that work with all cultures and languages. The building blocks are there and our web application generator puts them together to offer a great solution for your globalization and localization needs.



Code On Time applications offer full support for world cultures, including date and time, calendar, numeric, and currency formats. Your application code may use one culture for the server side business logic and a different culture for presentation.

Globalization settings are configured in the project wizard on the page titled Globalization and Localization. The screen shot below shows this page in a new project.


Culture and UI Culture drop down lists are automatically configured to match the locale of your computer. The screen shot above shows both inputs set to en-US, English (United States) .

The selections in these drop downs are the primary culture set of your application where Culture is governing the culture used in the code executed on the server and UI Culture is controlling the user interface culture aspects of the application.

If you are not planning to create applications for other locales then do not make any changes and simply click Next to continue project configuration.

If you are developing an application for a locale that is different then the one selected in Culture and UI Culture then make sure to change the selections accordingly.

Unlimited edition of web application generator allows specifying multiple culture sets.

You can define multiple culture sets by selecting  combinations in Culture / UI Culture drop downs and pressing Add Cultures button.

For example, if you are developing a line-of-business application that is expected to have users primarily in United States then you may anticipate that users from two neighbor countries Canada and Mexico may need to be supported as well. In this age of glo,bal commerce it should not be surprising that the business users of your web application may need to interact with partners from a far away country such as Taiwan.

Given the example above your application must support English, French, Spanish, and Traditional Chinese. The screen shot below shows the configuration of the corresponding supported culture sets.


You can also enter the support culture sets directly into the textbox as follows:

en-US, en-US; es-MX, es-MX; en-CA, en-CA; fr-CA, fr-CA; zh-TW, zh-TW;

Multiple culture sets are separated by semicolon or line breaks. Culture is separated from UI Culture by a comma within each culture set definition. If both Culture and UI Culture are the same then enter just one culture. UI Culture may be non-specific and defined by two letters of the language (fr, es, en).

This particular example assumes that users in different locales do not share the server culture.

This is all that is necessary to ensure that your application will correctly present and process date, time, calendars, numbers, and currency values in one or more locales.


Code On Time web application generator performs automatic localization of all standard application resources in the languages matched to the UI cultures. Our elegant localization system makes supporting multiple localized resources exceptionally simple and accessible.

Localization is one of the most complex aspects of application development. Various text fragments are typically dispersed in static application files such as pages, menus, reports, help system. Text messages are also emitted by business rules to report all sorts of errors and instructions to the end users of a web application.

ASP.NET does provide standard means of externalizing application resources and creating localized versions of each resource file. A developer must maintain all resource files in sync and embed references to specific resources whenever a fragment of text needs to be referenced.  In fact a developer has to translate their entire application in the language of resource IDs that are subsequently translated into actual text written in the natural language. If your application is AJAX-based then you need to employ additional resource DLLs to ensure that localized text resources are available to the client scripts, which makes the localization process even more complex. Resource files in ASP.NET web applications have XML format, which requires users to exercise great care when changing them.

We have decided to eliminate the complexity from this necessity.

Every generated Code On Time application includes several kinds of files commonly found in many hand-coded ASP.NET web applications:

  • Ajax Client Library resources (*.js files)
  • Data Controller Descriptors (*.xml files)
  • Web Pages (*.aspx files)
  • User Controls (*.ascx files)
  • Site Maps (*.sitemap files) B
  • Core Library and Business Logic (*.cs or*.vb files)

We use a refreshingly simple and consistent method of localizing the application source code. If you open the generated application source code in Visual Studio or Windows Explorer then you will find a collection of text files that include the names of UI cultures supported in your web application.

The screen shot shows the partial contents of the root folder of a generated application that supports cultures listed in the discussion of a globalization example above.


The screen shot shows ClientLibrary.*.txt, Resources.*.txt, and Web.Sitemap.*.txt groups of text files.

The first group defines the localized Client Library resources for all supported locales.

The second group defines localized resources used in the business rules and core library of the generated application.

The third group defines a collection of localized resources found in the Web.Sitemap, the file that describes the navigation hierarchy of the application.

You will find a few other clusters of localized resources if you browse the contents of the project. Notice that all of these clusters are associated with a specific static source file of your project much like Web.Sitemap and its satellite resources.

Let’s take a look inside.

Here is the first three lines from ClientLibrary.en-US.txt.




Next example shows the first three lines from

^About^À propos^About^



This snippet shows the first three lines from ClientLibrary.zh-TW.txt.




You have probably noticed the pattern that includes localization brackets on both sides of a localized resource. A localization bracket must start and end with “^” and may contain any combination of alphanumeric characters, such as ^About^, ^Label1^, and ^23^. We call the combination of matching brackets and text between them a localization token.

Here is an example of localization tokens SiteHome, HomePath, and HomeDesc found in Web.Sitemap.

  <siteMapNode url="~/Default.aspx" title="^SiteHome^Home^SiteHome^" description="">
    <siteMapNode title="^HomePath^Home^HomePath^" 
description="^HomeDesc^Application home page^HomeDesc^"
url="~/Pages/Home.aspx" />

Sample code using localization token RecordChangedByAnotherUser is shown next. Method Replace of class Localizer automatically adds “^” to the localization token name and wraps it around the text fragment. This class is the core class of your application. You may find yourself using Localizer.Replace if you need to write a custom business logic in a multi-lingual web application.

if (result.RowsAffected == 0)
    result.RowNotFound = true;
"The record has been changed by another user.")); }

You can see that the localization token name is present along with the default text fragment in both use cases. This makes it much easier to understand the intended result. Your web application will remove the localization token at runtime and try to find the resource associated with the token in a file matched to the current web request UI culture. If the localized resource is found then it is used in place of the default value. If the exact match of a specific culture such as “fr-CA” is not found then the localizer will try to see if there is a file that matches a non-specific culture “fr”.

All resource text fragments of the core server and client libraries are written in English. Your can replace them if you change the localization files with the corresponding culture. For example, if your culture is en-US then change the files that end with *.en-US.txt to replace the default English fragments. Do not change the corresponding source code files directly.

If you change the value between localization brackets and save the file then you have effectively changed the localized text representation of the corresponding physical resource of your web application. Simply run your application and observe your changes to resource files in action.

If you application is based on a Visual Studio solution file (if you are developing a Web App Factory, Azure Factory, or SharePoint Factory project) then you will need to compile your application.

Files ClientLibrary.*.txt are not a part of your application. The web application generator will use the contents of these files to customize the JavaScript library of your application. If you change any definitions in ClientLibrary.*.txt file set then make sure to re-generate your project for the changes to take effect. Make sure to hit Refresh button of your browser to ensure that the most current version of localized resources is loaded in the web browser window.

Other localization file sets found in your project must be deployed along with the application.

Localization files found in the class libraries of your project (applies to Web App Factory, Azure Factory, SharePoint Factory) will have the culture component in the file name using “_” instead of “-“.

Here is a brief description of all standard localization files sets.

File Set Folder Description
ClientLibrary.*.txt ~/ JavaScript Client Library resources.
Resources.*.txt ~/ Resources used in the core application classes and business rules of application.
Web.Sitemap.*.txt ~/ Text and description of navigation nodes presented in application menu.
aspnet_Membership.xml.*.txt ~/Controllers Membership manager resources.
aspnet_Roles.xml.*.txt ~/Controllers Role manager resources.
TableOfContents.ascx.*.txt ~/Controls Text fragments used in the standard table of contents that presents the site map as a tree.
Welcome.ascx.*.txt ~/Controls Text fragments used in the welcome message.
Home.aspx.*.txt ~/Pages Resources definitions found in the home page.
Membership.aspx.*.txt ~/Pages Resource definitions found in the membership manager page.
Template.xslt.*.txt ~/Reports Resource definitions used in RDLC report template.

Modified localization files are preserved by web application generator. If a new localization token is introduced in the core library and you have an existing application that does not have such a token then the code generator will insert the token in the file with value equal to the default text fragment from the code generation library.

Multiple Cultures / Languages

Your application may support any number of user interface languages with the same code base. The application framework offers easy-to-use localization of static resources and simple API to render localized messages produced by your custom business rules.  We have shown examples of localized static resources and business rules in the previous topic.

This capability is available in the Unlimited edition of Code On Time.

Automatic Translation

Wrap localization brackets around any text. Web application code generator will perform full translation in all languages supported by your application.

For example, the screen shot below shows the list of fields in Customers data controller. You can see that the field labels in the third column from the right have been changed to include localization brackets. Numerical and named tokens such as ^ContName^ and ^3^ are being used for localization.


We have also changed various text properties of Customers page in designer.


The following versions of Customers screen are presented if we generate our application and select languages corresponding to fr-CA and zh-TW cultures.



If you inspect the generated application then you will notice the following new culture sets that were created by Code On Time web application generator.

Localization files for ~/Pages/Customers.aspx

Localization files for ~/Controllers/Customers.xml


Feel free to open any of these text files to refine the localized text fragments. Generated applications monitor localization files and will start using the fresh content when you save the changes.

Language Detection

Code On Time web applications will automatically detect the supported culture. If the client browser culture is supported by your  app then the appropriate localized resources are utilized to render the pages without any user involvement.

Web browsers send language preferences to web servers with each request. Culture manager of the generated web application will automatically match a supported culture set with the languages accepted by the user’s browser. If a match is found then the culture set is automatically selected.

If the matching culture is not found then the application will use the default culture set of your application that was selected on Globalization and Localization page of project wizard.

Language Selector

Membership bar offers a list of languages supported in your application with native names presented to application users. Language selection is automatically memorized and maintained with a sliding expiration.

Language selector complements automatic language detection.

We Need Your Help

Automatic translation of localized resources is performed via Google Translate. The result of translation may not meet your expectations and we apologize for that.

We need your help with creating high quality localized standard resources. If you do make changes to any of the localized files listed below then please contribute your translations to benefit the developer community. You will find additional instructions in ClientLibrary.*.txt files in the root of your applications.

We are looking for assistance with the following files:

  • ClientLibrary.*.txt
  • Resources.*.txt
  • Web.Sitemap.*.txt
  • aspnet_Membership.xml.*.txt
  • aspnet_Roles.xml.*.txt
  • TableOfContents.ascx.*.txt
  • Welcome.ascx.*.txt
  • Home.aspx.*.txt
  • Membership.aspx.*.txt
  • Template.xslt.*.txt

Your contribution will be included in the general distribution of the code generation library. We will post the names of contributors on our blog with a link to contributor’s website if requested.