Although Part II, "Globalization," discusses globalization in detail, it's important to have an initial understanding of what globalization covers as you prepare your specification. Making sure that all language versions of your software have the same built-in capability to support all targeted languages and locales is called "globalization." It is essentially a process that involves the following general tasks:
These tasks are all centered on the concept of locale-awareness, which, as you've seen, should be an integral part of your specification. (See "Identifying World-Ready Requirements in Specifications" earlier in this chapter.) Nevertheless, the scope of globalization features is even broader than issues regarding locale-awareness. A second area of globalization involves encoding data for internal processing and sharing it with other applications. Like all aspects of coding, there are many ways to do this, each having strengths and weaknesses. However, Chapter 3, "Unicode," explains why Unicode is the best encoding method to use when dealing with world-ready applications.
A third major area of globalization concerns the input, output, and display of data to the user. You will recall that IMEs refer to the modules that handle the input of ideographic characters. In order to ensure correct input of data, IMEs are used for languages such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Character-shaping engines handle the display of complex scripts such as those in Arabic, Thai, and Indic languages, among others. Since the input, output, and display of data are all processes linked closely with font technologies, you should carefully consider the best approach for using fonts.
You should also determine how to manage Multilingual User Interface (MUI) technology, the fourth major area of globalization. For example, how will you display items like menus, dialog boxes, and system messages in the user's preferred language? In order to help you better understand the four globalization issues highlighted here, Part II, "Globalization," is exclusively dedicated to this topic.