Internationalization in HTML Interface Design
Andrea Vine - Sun Microsystems, Inc.
||Software Engineer, Systems Analyst
Purpose: To help engineers and designers understand internationalization issues
in CGI scripts/programs.
Description: This presentation begins with the design of HTML forms. HTML
has character set limitations which require planning and
workarounds to produce a properly internationalized interface.
Designers must consider that the server has limited knowledge of client
preferences, and so must provide explicit information from the user
interface. Field-inclusion based on an international audience is
discussed; designers must determine whether the data is just language-
specific, or locale-specific. CGI language strengths and weaknesses are
briefly presented to illustrate the functionality which software creators
should examine before selecting a particular programming language.
Problem areas in writing the HTML pages are covered, such as displaying
two different charsets in a single frame, or understanding native
system control of input text areas. Some scenarios are described
illustrating these points. Engineers are advised of particular HTML
quirks, and ways to work around them. Coding and testing issues are
then presented, highlighting some key places to watch for. The summary
stresses that building an internationalized application with an HTML
interface requires planning and creative solutions.