Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Globalize your mobile content - App Localization

Mobile applications are built for specific purposes and requirements, but it has to cater to a wide audience beyond linguistic and geographical barriers. This involves a great deal of personalization of the application to the users specific language.
Why is Localization Important?
Below are a few stats that clearly emphasize why an applications have to be localized.
  • 89% of the Internet users are outside the United States
  • When it comes to consumer preference 52.6% of consumers feel that localized content is more important than the price they pay for the service
  • Vendors receive $25 for every $1 spent on localized content proving consistent return on investment. This has resulted in 71.43% of Fortune 500 companies adopting localization to reach more customers in the countries they already operate in
English is the dominant language among application development organizations and as a result the great majority of apps launch only have an English language option. This approach has failed, in turn causing reductions in usability and reachability.
What Does it Take to Localize an Application?
Every smartphone platform has provisions for developers to localize content, but one has to consider all areas in this landscape. Areas of consideration for mobile application localization include:
  • UI context switching 
  • Handling bi-directional text (RTR <-> LTR)
  • Encoding formats for languages like Chinese, Arabic, etc.
  • Support from web services and middleware

Localization Solution Approach in Detail
Be it Android, iOS or any other mobile application platform, the labels and text content to be localized are placed inside a XML/JSON based common resource file bundled within the app package.
This involves carrying out the strings to different resource files with the equivalent text for different languages. A respective key value pair will identify every specific text (). The resource files are placed inside the folders with the respective language identified by default values within the OS.
UI Context Switching
When the language context is changed, say from English to French, then it would logically fetch the localization resources mapped to French language and display the corresponding text on the user interface. With respect to multimedia resources (images, audio and video), which require localization support, mobile platforms/OS provide region-based qualifiers to the resources folder structure. A resource folder can be differentiated by adding the “-xx” qualifier to the name, where xx would stand for a specific language (en - English, fr - French, etc.). This would help the OS to select region specific resources as well.
  • The user interface should be mirrored when displaying right-to-left languages
  • If base internationalization and Auto Layout is used in iOS, most of the user interface will appear mirrored automatically
  • The text direction changes to right-to-left with the exception of phone numbers and country codes, which are always left-to-right
  • Some views and controls in the user interface may not change direction automatically which can be fixed programmatically
Handling Bi-directional Text
Use of standard views and controls that automatically handle bi-directional text, as described in Displaying Text is recommended. On creation of custom controls for text input, bi-directional text has to be handled explicitly.
Encoding Formats for Languages
There are several different encoding formats such as ASCII encodingUnicode & UTF-8/UTF-16 are available but to support Internationalization UTF-8 can be used.
Support from Web Services and Middleware
Employ a common character-encoding format across mechanism either UTF-8 or UTF-16.
The following is an example of how internationalization should be handled incase of SOAP services.
Localization in a Mobile Client - SOAP Architecture

Monday, March 21, 2016

Apple "Loop Me In" Event Updates - Mar 2016

Quick updates from today’s “Loop you in” – a special event organized by Apple.

Apple and renewable energy:

Announcements from Lisa Jackson, Apple's Vice President of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives :

  • Apple states that their goal is to become 100% renewable in 100% of their operations worldwide. This includes all of their offices, retail stores and every single data center belonging to Apple. 
  • Also mentions that 93% of Apple facilities run on renewable energy.
  • And in 21 countries around the world the company is using 100% renewable energy which is quite impressive. Kudos !!
  • And say Hello to Liam, a robot (R&D project) which breaks all the old iPhones and separates the reusable/renewable materials. And wow that's pretty thoughtful and amazing !!
For more information :http://www.apple.com/environment/renewable-resources/

Apple Announces CareKit:

Announced by Jeff Williams, COO, Apple., CareKit will be an open source software framework which will help developers to add features in the health apps like keeping track of care plans, symptoms monitoring, measurement trackers and sharing the same information with family and health care professionals.

Other features include CareCard – which will help people track their individual care plans and Insight Dashboard which will map symptoms and action items in the care card.

So this would be a great added advantage to existing iOS frameworks like HealthKit and Research Kit.

CareKit will be available in April 2016.

For more information : http://www.apple.com/researchkit/

Updates on Apple Watch :

  • Apple showcased new woven nylon bands for Apple Watch in multiple vibrant colors – Black, Pink, Orange and Blue
  • And starting from today Apple watch will be sold at $299

And the most awaited update-  Apple introduces iPhone SE :

Apple presented a cheaper and a smaller option to its flagship iPhone 6S and 6S plus taking the best of both iPhone5 and iPhone 6 series.

Apple is always brilliant, very specific and unique when it comes to design and according to Apple’s website the iPhone SE is ” Crafted from bead-blasted aluminum for a satin-like finish. And matte-chamfered edges and a color-matched stainless steel logo finish the look “

A few key specs of iPhone SE :
  • 4-inch screen
  • 64-bit Apple A9 processor
  • Hands-free and always-on “Hey Siri”
  • 12-MP rear facing iSight Camera (almost same as iPhone6S’), slow-mo upto 240fps
  • Additional camera improvements like True Tone Flash, Panorama limit to 63 MP, 4K ideo recording
  • WiFi-Calling
  • A much faster LTE – upto 150 Mbps.
  • Bluetooth 4.2

iPhone SE pricing starts at $399 for 16GB and goes till $499 for a 64GB version.

Orders to begin from 24-Mar and shipping from 31-Mar reaching 110 countries by end of May.

iOS 9.3 :

Apple VP Greg Joswiak talks about iOS 9.3

Few key features will be:

NightShift - Automatic adjustment of display colors by detecting iOS device's clock and geolocation. And in the morning it turns back into regular settings.

Touch ID and password support in Notes app.

More personalized News

Apple Music integrated with CarPlay and more additional features.

Apple further announces that the update will be available as a free one for everyone starting from today.

iPad Pro - 9.7 inch

Phil Schiller , Apple Marketing chief introduces the 9.7 inch iPad Pro.

Few key specs include :

  • 12MP iSight Camera, 5MP front-facing FaceTime HD
  • 64-bit A9X Chip efficiently providing 10 hours of battery life
  • M9 Coprocessor
  • Focus Pixels
  • True Tone Flash
  • New image signal processor
  • Panorama up to 63 MP
  • Live Photos

Orders starting from 24-Mar-2016 and available from 31-Mar-2016.