Got Windows 8? Check out the Multilingual App Toolkit!

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2012/03/09 09:01 -05:00, original URI:

Microsoft has had a vision for quite some time about how people should write localized applications.

Dating back to Win32, but living in VB, VC++, VJ, VB.Net, C#, F#, whether Win32 or MFC or WTL or WinForms or WPF or Silverlight or whatever, there was some set of guidelines so anyone who wanted their application translated to other languages/cultures had a way to do so.

Some people out there even took our advice!

But a lot of people didn't.

Maybe it was the extra work they all required, or maybe it was the "do it all yourself" nature of them, or maybe it was how difficult it was to test while writing vte code.

Maybe it was too hard!

So in the new world of Windows 8 and the Modern Experience, when everything else was going to be made easier, a vision was formed.

A vision of a toolkit that could be used to do all that work for you and let you either do it all with our help, or take the products of this tool and give it to any localization company.

I was skeptical early on, thinking "that's not vision, they're just seeing things."

Then I went back to my cave and fixed some bugs.

But now, the vision has been realized. And I've never been so pleased to be proven wrong!

Because the

Multilingual App Toolkit for Visual Studio 11 Beta

has now been released!

I was able to pry Cameron Lerum away from uploading MAT long enough to pretend I'm a journalist and ask about the toolkit....

And here follows some of that interview!

Michael, pseudo-Journalist: Hey Cameron, busy day, huh?

Cameron, principal developer of MAT: Well, I can finally relax, all the bits are live!

Michael: Okay, so tell me about what you've done here. Tell me what MAT is all about....

Cameron: Well, the Multilingual App Toolkit extends Metro style Apps to make them multilingual.

Michael: Um, does that mean people have to buy Visual Studio if they don't have it?

Cameron: No, people can use it with the completely free Express Edition of Visual Studio if they want. It integrates directly into that version of VS.

Michael: Very cool! Now is this going to be creating proprietary format files?

Cameron: It actually uses XLIFF (the XML Localisation Interchange File Format).

Michael: Wow, Open Standards FTW! Unicode, too, right?

Cameron: Of course!

Michael: And the MAT-created XLIFF, it works with any Localization tool that support XLIFF?

Cameron: Well, we follow the XLIFF Standard. It should work with any of them, and if not then there is a bug in MAT or in the tool/product they are using. So let's report those bugs!

Michael: So who is your target customer?

Cameron: It is really geared toward smaller Apps.

Michael: Does that mean Microsoft would never use it for their own products?

Cameron: Even at a big company, not every App is a huge project. You remember those Apps we released with the Developer Preview at //BUILD? The Live team is interested in MAT, as are some others -- often because of the features it provides, not just willingness to Dogfood our products.

Michael: Do I have to have a localizer lined up to handle the work, even while I'm just trying things out?

Cameron: Not at all! You have several different choices here: You can:

- use the built-in pseudo language engine, to test things out directly;
- use a free translation service like Microsoft Translator Services to see how things look, by using the integrated Microsoft Translator service;
- send files to localizers.

Michael: Wait a minute. What if I want to try specific languages that no free service supports?

Cameron: No worries. You can configure the pseudo language engine to prefix and suffix your App's strings with whatever you want -- so you can pick your language, even when you're testing.

Michael: How many languages can it support?

Cameron: It is using managed code's System.Globalization.CultureInfo, so any language .NET 4.5 supports, you can too!

Michael: Okay, I'm sold. So where do I get it?

Cameron: Well, there' the Visual Studio Gallery where you can get MAT, and the Dev Center link.

Michael: So, what does it look like?

{cue art in 3....2....1....}




At this point, Cameron took advantage of how easily distracted I am by screen shots, and he made his escape....

So now, I'm off to check out the

Multilingual App Toolkit for Visual Studio 11 Beta

Aren't you?


John Cowan on 9 Mar 2012 9:32 AM:

qps-ploc???  Private-use script tags are Qaaa-Qabx.

Michael S. Kaplan on 9 Mar 2012 12:40 PM:

It's not a scrpt tag, it's a language tag. A pseudo language tag....

Kathleen on 9 Mar 2012 5:52 PM:

Congratulations on this release to Cameron and all the others who brought it to fruition! Thank you!

Olivier on 12 Mar 2012 1:52 PM:

Very nice, congratulations folks!

Christian on 13 Mar 2012 12:53 AM:

Well unless the new VS is changed to still target Windows XP, this release is totally lost for a lot of developers. Great job possibly, but it cannot be used.

Michael S. Kaplan on 13 Mar 2012 1:40 AM:

This toolkit is about Windows 8 Development, and if the downloads of the Developer Preview and Consumer Preview don't suggest a *ton* of interest there, then I don't know what will convibce you....

Not everyone who uses VS is XP-focused!

Christian on 13 Mar 2012 1:54 AM:

Yes, I just re-read and saw "extends Metro style Apps" - this means some different VS versions on the developing machine then, if needed.

But talking about "tons of downloads of the CP" - well, I also read tons of criticism about the new politics of MS with forced Metro-centrism, unharmonic integration of Metro and Desktop, and deficiencies of Metro. But that's a totally different story that is not correctly placed here.

Michael S. Kaplan on 13 Mar 2012 6:45 AM:

Thanks for placing it here, anyway. :-)

John Cowan on 13 Mar 2012 4:19 PM:

Yes, 'qps' is a private primary language tag, that's fine.  But the 'ploc' part is an unassigned, non-private, script tag.  That steps on ISO 15924.  'qps-qaap' would have been appropriate.

Ernst Tremel on 10 Sep 2012 2:05 PM:

Windows 8 RP does not yet fully support Arabic Unicode Version 6.1

U+0620 ۍ

should be joined by any Arabic consonant like کۍ ۻۍ

but this isn’t the fact.

It is only like    صؠ کؠ

I've been testing for several weeks

Windows 8 Consumer Preview

and Windows 8 Release Preview:

Concerning Unicode Version 6.1. there had been made some improvements.

But it's a pity that all the Unicode code points bigger than hex-FFFF (e.g. Hex-10000, Hex-10001 a.s.o)

had not yet been integrated into the operating system.

Ubuntu since version 10.04 however has  no problems to integrate and to display such hex-numbers.

Ich arbeite bzw. teste seit mehreren Wochen

Windows 8 Consumer Preview

und Windows 8 Release Preview:

In Bezug auf Unicode Version 6.1. sind einige Verbesserungen vorgenommen worden.

Leider jedoch ist die gesamte Palette von Unicode Codepoints größer als Hex-FFFF (z.B. Hex-10000, Hex-10001 usw.) noch immer nicht ins Betriebssystem integriert.

In Ubuntu seit Version 10.4 hingegen gibt es keine Probleme mit diesen fünfstelligen Unicode Hex-Zahlen.

Michael S. Kaplan on 10 Sep 2012 6:34 PM:

No version of Windows 8 supports Unicode 6.1.

Since you haven't said what program you are using, it is hard to comment further on your [offtopic!] comment....

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referenced by

2012/09/19 Got Windows 8? The Multilingual App Toolkit is released!

2012/03/20 How to misuse codes while fixing the misuse of codes (Microsoft edition)

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