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Flex – not so flexible, it seems March 1, 2007

Posted by globalizer in Locales, Localization, Programming languages.

I’m taking responsibility for the globalization and localization of some new applications, and just trying to figure out what they do, the programming platform, file types, etc. It turns out that one of them is apparently using Adobe Flex to provide a rich web client interface (yes, I know – sounds like a marketing blurb).

I have to admit that until a few days ago I had not even heard of Flex, but I guess I will have to dig into it. My first discoveries are not promising, but also not unexpected: when was the last time you saw a new technology introduced which had good, built-in support for localization right from the get-go?

If I am reading the documentation and the fora correctly, then you have to compile a separate SWF file per locale, and there is no built-in way of selecting the appropriate SWF file based on a locale parameter. Um, that’s like creating a separate executable per language, right? You compile your translation files into your source code, so if you want to change your source, you have to recompile 26 language versions? Isn’t that so, what should I say, ’80s?

I may be unfair here, simply because I have not delved deeply enough into the documentation, and I sure would love to be proven wrong.


1. Matt - March 2, 2007

You’re right that in Flex 2.0.1 to use the built-in resource managers you do need to recompile the SWF per-language. While frustrating it strikes us that it’s something that’s fairly straightforward to do in a build script like Ant. However, we are adding runtime localization support into the next version of Flex, codenamed “Moxie.” You’ll be able to try that functionality out when we release a beta in the first half of this year.

2. globalizer - March 2, 2007

Hi Matt – that’s great news! I’m glad to hear that localization is being considered as you go forward.
And you are right that having to compile for every language is by no means a worst-case scenario as far as localization goes.

3. Flex developers sure are agile though… « Musings on software globalization - March 2, 2007

[…] languages. trackback I’m impressed to see a comment from a Flex developer the day after I posted about the localization support. And even more impressed to see that the next version will actually […]

4. ivadhn - May 13, 2007

Hi My Name Is ivasri.

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