Identifying Globalization Requirements

Globalization encompasses both internationalization and localization. This refers to the entire solution process from design through implementation and localization. Globalization requirements define how specific process should handle locale information. These requirements help identify which processes and other requirements need this further customization to allow for globalization. Depending on the level of globalization, the requirements process takes the base set of requirements and extends them.

There are some key assumptions that must be examined. For example, language and the various dialects are the most obvious and the easiest to overlook. It is very possible to have words with different meanings in the same dialect of a language. Cultural differences are the most subtle, but there is generally high awareness of the potential issue. For example, images or colors that may be perfectly acceptable in one country may be considered inappropriate in that same usage in another culture. Another example is how address and date fields in other countries use non-U.S. formats for information.

Business practices and processes differences could be obvious or subtle. As an example, Japan does not round taxes, where other countries use the standard "bank rounding." Differences in computing environment are challenging because of specialized technical skills required to recognize and address them. In Japan and other Asian countries, for example, it is possible to have different types of encoding methods for different systems and data. Recognizing these factors helps with the gathering process when looking for differences and issues. An example of a globalization requirement could be to provide a library of locale-aware formatting and parsing functions for numbers, dates, and currencies.

From the case study, examples of localization, internationalization, and globalization would be the ability for the web site to support English, Spanish, German, and French. Each language would require specific types of routines to display appropriate types of currency and date information. Another requirement would be the fact that the application would have to use .NET's features of localization resource files to hold language-specific information.

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