It is often said that the world is getting smaller every day. Cheap, fast air travel; the global economy; the global climate; the insatiable desire for standards; and, perhaps, most important of all, the Internet all play a part in the homogenization of our world. It is ironic, therefore, that this shrinking effect is not a benefit to developers[md]in fact, it has the opposite effect. As the world community achieves greater awareness and greater tolerance, the demand for culturally aware software increases. Within the U.S. and Canada, for example, significant Hispanic, French, and Chinese populations exist.
At best, English-only Windows applications and Web sites are difficult for these cultures. At worst, these applications and Web sites exclude or even offend these populations. Such Web sites also are potentially illegal. For example, France and Quebec, Canada, both have laws prohibiting the hosting of English-only Web sites. Many countries (Wales, for example) also require that public services always be available in the native language, in addition to English. From marketing and financial viewpoints, English-only applications[md]and particularly Web sites[md]represent a massive lost market. By their very nature, Web sites are global, but an English-only Web site loses marketing opportunities to people who do not speak English. From a marketing point of view, such a lost opportunity is a criminal waste.
Good news exists, however. The .NET Framework has arguably the most comprehensive support for internationalizing .NET applications of any development platform. The .NET Framework provides a significant infrastructure for globalizing applications, and Visual Studio 2003 and 2005 provide excellent functionality for localizing Windows applications. Although Visual Studio 2003 offered little help for ASP.NET developers, rest assured that Visual Studio 2005 has thorough support for localizing Web applications.
What This Book Covers
This book covers the internationalization of .NET Windows Forms and ASP.NET applications. It covers both versions 1.1 and 2.0 of the .NET Framework, and both Visual Studio 2003 and Visual Studio 2005. Although the main focus of the book is on the .NET Framework 2.0 and Visual Studio 2005, it highlights differences between them and the