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Resource files allow you to store all translatable text in one place, avoiding duplication. Strings, layouts, images - everything can be contained in resx or resw files. This simplifies localization as you only need to translate the resource files instead of digging through code.
For Xamarin.Forms, resource files are structured slightly differently per platform. Android uses XML resources, iOS strings files and .NET resources for UWP. But tools like Resx Manager can combine them into one centralized location.
The key is consistency. Resource ID naming conventions must be unified across platforms. Filenames like AppResources.resx work on all projects. If resource IDs match, you can share translations between iOS, Android and UWP without rewriting code.
Another tip is avoiding hardcoded strings. Any text that needs translation should be extracted into resource files, not left inline. This prevents missing translations down the road. Tools like Resx Manager can automatically scan code to externalize hardcoded strings.
Apps that master resource files reap huge benefits. New languages can be added simply by providing new resource files, no recoding required. Updates are also easier - change the resx and changes propagate everywhere.
This flexibility enabled Duolingo to efficiently expand their language learning app. Their shared resources power iOS, Android and Web with minimal duplicated effort. Resource files drive the entire multilingual experience.
For an open-source example, Healthcare Handler published all their resource files on GitHub. By crowdsourcing translations, they now support 10 languages with just one codebase. Their global user base grew exponentially thanks to well-structured resources.
Properly displaying right-to-left (RTL) languages is crucial for apps targeting Middle Eastern markets. Languages like Arabic and Hebrew read right-to-left, so text alignment needs to adapt. Without RTL support, users see garbled text and unusable UIs.
Unfortunately, RTL can be challenging to implement across platforms. On iOS, enabling RTL is straightforward by setting semantic content attributes on storyboards. But Android and UWP need extra handling to get alignment correct. Even RTL-savvy developers can struggle with subtle layout issues during localization.
A key pain point is mixing RTL and LTR text. It's common for RTL languages to contain numbers, URLs and LTR phrases. Without care, the switch between LTR and RTL leads to disorienting mid-sentence direction changes. iOS handles bidi text out-of-the-box, but Android needs extra markup to prevent improper mirroring.
Icons and images also require finesse so they don't end up on the wrong side. Layout margins may need to flip so containers properly fit RTL content. If using custom renderers, ensure they correctly reposition elements for each platform.
Thoroughly testing RTL comes next. RTL layouts can't be accurately assessed on LTR systems. You must use RTL devices and bring in native speakers to catch issues. Reviews of the official Twitter app found numerous glaring RTL problems that went unnoticed during development.
Teams like Duolingo and Google Translate now include native RTL testers. Duolingo found their Arabic course was completely backwards prior to testing on iOS devices purchased in Dubai. Such embarrassment is easily avoided by making RTL support a priority throughout development.
Formatting dates, numbers, and currencies to suit each locale may seem like a small detail, but it has an outsized impact on user experience. When users see familiar date formats, currency symbols, and number separators, it puts them at ease and makes the app feel like home. Getting these elements right shows users that you care about their market and avoided "one-size-fits-all" development.
For date formatting, the devil is in the details. Across languages, dates can be structured as month/day/year, day/month/year, or even year/month/day. Abbreviations for months and days vary as well. A Spanish user will expect "Mar" instead of "Marzo", while German speakers are accustomed to "MÃ¤r" vs "MÃ¤rz". Catering to these nuances takes work, but pays off through greater user trust and engagement.
Currency symbols also hold meaning beyond the raw numeric value. Displaying "$100" evokes a different response than "100â¬" or "Â¥100", even though the amount is the same. The symbol carries cultural associations that influence users' perception. Moreover, grouping digits and handling decimal separators must align with each region. 1234567.89 becomes 1,234,567.89 in the US but 1.234.567,89 across much of Europe.
Apps like AirBnB took the time to customize currencies across their millions of listings. Users immediately grasp the home's value when seeing familiar pricing. AirBnB reinforced that travelers come first, not technical convenience.
For Xamarin developers, .NET's built-in globalization features handle much of the heavy lifting. The DateTimeFormatInfo class can format dates and numbers to a CultureInfo's expectations.RegionInfo provides currency symbols and other locale-specific data.