Localization API support

The package com.ibm.websphere.i18n.localizabletext contains classes and interfaces for localizing text. This package makes extensive use of the internationalization features of the standard Java APIs from Sun Microsystems, including...

The WebSphere localizable-text package wraps the Java support and extends it for efficient and simple use in a distributed environment. The primary class used by application programmers is LocalizableTextFormatter. Instances of this class are usually created in server programs, but client programs can also create them. Formatter instances are created for specific resource-bundle names and keys. Client programs that receive a LocalizableTextFormatter instance call its format method. This method uses the locale of the client application to retrieve the appropriate resource bundle and compose a locale-specific message based on the key.

For example, suppose that a distributed application supports both French and English locales; the server is using an English locale and the client, a French locale. The server creates two resource bundles, one each for English and French. When the client makes a request that triggers a message, the server creates a LocalizableTextFormatter instance that contains the name of the resource bundle and the key for the message and passes the instance back to the client.

When the client receives the LocalizableTextFormatter instance, it calls the object's format method. By using the locale and name of the resource bundle, the format method determines the name of the resource bundle that supports the French locale and retrieves the message that corresponds to the key from the French resource bundle. Formatting of the message is transparent to the client.

In this simple example, the resource bundles reside centrally with the server. They do not have to exist with the client. Part of what the localizable-text package provides is the infrastructure to support centralized catalogs. This implementation uses an enterprise bean (a stateless session bean provided with the localizable-text package) to access the message catalogs. When the client calls the format method on the LocalizableTextFormatter instance, the following events occur...

  1. The client application sets the time-zone and locale values in the LocalizableTextFormatter instance, either by passing them explicitly or through default values.

  2. A call, LocalizableTextFormatterEJBFinder, is made to retrieve a reference to the formatter bean.

  3. Information from the LocalizableTextFormatter instance, including the client's time zone and locale, is sent to the formatting bean.

  4. The formatting bean uses the name of the resource bundle, the message key, the time zone, and the locale to compose a language-specific message.

  5. The formatter bean returns the formatted message to the client.

  6. The formatted message is inserted into the LocalizableTextFormatter instance and returned by the format method.

A call to the format method requires at most one remote call, to contact the formatter bean. As an alternative, the LocalizableTextFormatter instance can cache formatted messages, eliminating the remote call for subsequent uses. In addition, you can set a fallback string so that the application can return a readable string even if it cannot access the appropriate message catalog.

The resource bundles can be stored locally. The localizable-text package provides a static variable that indicates whether the bundles are stored locally (LocalizableConfiguration.LOCAL) or remotely (LocalizableConfiguration.REMOTE). However, the setting of this variable applies to all applications running within the same JVM.


See Also

Enterprise beans
Internationalizing applications
Internationalization: Resources for learning
LocalizableTextFormatter class