Companies can no longer afford to think only about local marketplaces. Since the mid to late 1990s, the business world has been overrun with ideas about a world economy all you have to do is look at what's happening in Europe with the Euro. Businesses and even countries are realizing that they can't just think about their traditional markets and at the same time continue to grow revenue and be successful; they must start thinking globally and attempt to bring in global customers for their products and services.
With the explosion of the World Wide Web in the mid-1990s, companies conducting business on the Internet began to find out that providing access to their products and services via a web site was an ideal way of attracting new customers from all over the world. One of the key reasons is 24/7 access. Regardless of the time zone the business or the customers are in, the Web allows a customer to shop and purchase goods and services at any time of the day or night. Traditional business hours are irrelevant on the Web. What unlimited access can mean to companies and their revenue is enormous. However, for the software developers that have to build and maintain the applications to support global customers, the task can be daunting.
This chapter focuses on what it takes to make a Struts application available to customers from around the world, regardless of their language or geographical location. As is often the case in software development, planning ahead is the most important thing you can do to help ensure success. After reading this chapter, you should be able to build Struts applications that make it possible to support a broad range of customers.