Target Audience: Manager, Software Engineer, Systems Analyst, Marketer

Level of Session: Advanced

XUL, pronounced as /zool/, stands for "XML-based User Interface Language", is a cross platform way of describing user interface. It is used to construct the graphical user interface for the Mozilla browser client. Ideally, XUL documents are internationalization friendly since it is XML-based and all XML processors must support Unicode encoding (the UTF-8 and UTF-16 encoding of 10646). In reality, a typical XUL file may contain standard XML (eXtensible Markup Language) elements, XUL specific elements, style information (currently Cascading Stylesheet), HTML (HyperText Markup Language), and JavaScript functions. With such great variety of source types, localization enabling of XUL documents becomes quite a challenge.

This paper gives a brief introduction to the concept of XUL and then examines the principles, including adoption of Unicode (UTF-8) as the standard document encoding, of seeking localization solutions. After that, it dissects the components of a XUL document and identifies resources needed to be localized. It then recommends a set of XUL coding style guidelines to ensure the localizability of XUL documents.

While the localizability solutions proposed are for XUL, most of they can be applied to general Web document authoring for the sake of customization.

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14 Jun 1999, Webmaster