Internationalization of a Distance Exam Web Environment
Radouane Mrabet - The Distance Learning Laboratory, Morocco & Jamal Bentahar - Laval University
This paper describes an architecture to provide multilingual support for an exam Web environment with an emphasis on Arabic localization (or Arabization). Developing software products for populations with different cultures is a two step process: internationalization followed by localization. Proper arabization is particularly complex with many interesting challenges.
In this context, we developed an architecture to provide multilingual support for EDILE (Exam DIistance Learning Environment) [Mrabet 98]*. EDILE covers all steps of the evaluation process, from the exams edition to the grades publication. The architecture is based on Java resource bundles and separates a program's code from the resources it uses. Of necessity, this architecture also includes a component for proper language and cultural presentation. EDILE uses a same source code for various linguistic versions. The architecture uses parameters to indicate, for example, the language and the font. Hence, the accessed resources are specified only at run time. This configuration makes EDILE a dynamic environment.
For Arabic localization, we use the Unicode bi-directional algorithm. We solved the problems of the contextual analysis and ligatures by using finite states automata. Our solution also makes use of the Unicode character-glyph model. We also use a virtual keyboard implementation based on the Unicode table to manage the Arabic keyboard.
In the paper, we first briefly review relevant aspects of internationalization and arabization. Then we show the EDILE environment and its internationalized architecture. We conclude by describing details on the Arabic localization of EDILE.
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