Software Usability, Computer Skills and Developing for Localization

Ever wonder about how good people are at understanding and using technology? It’s worse than you probably think. So says a study recently published by the Nielsen Norman Group (Evidence-Based User Experience Research, Training, and Consulting). I suggest that anyone having to do with the making and localization of software take a look at this compelling and well written abstract: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/computer-skill-levels/

The short version: Across 33 rich countries, only 5% of the population has high computer-related abilities, and only a third of people can complete medium-complexity tasks.

Taken from this article: https://www.nngroup.com/articles/computer-skill-levels/

The study breaks down user abilities into 3 distinct levels of task performing proficiencies, plus an additional sub-level of “can’t use computers”. The data was collected from 2011–2015 in 33 countries and was published in 2016 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, a club of industrialized countries. In total, 215,942 people were tested, with at least 5,000 participants in most countries. Don’t worry, If you’re reading this, you’re probably in level 3.

If you add language or cultural formatting issues into the equation, it’s a safe bet that skills would skew in an even more negative direction. Poor user experience, for which localization is a considerable factor, makes for bad business. It raises sales and support costs, decreases user loyalty, and can reduce or even nullify competitive advantages.

My personal evidence from running a company that provides enterprise software is that even with technology savvy clients, plenty of people working in positions demanding computer proficiency don’t necessarily have the skills you’d think they should. Inevitably, misunderstandings happen. It’s very easy to overestimate user knowledge skills.

In working with many software companies over the years, we’ve seen that developers don’t necessarily understand internationalization and localization issues – even if they get the basics. For example, You can instruct developers to always externalize strings, only for them to externalize sentence fragments that they later concatenate programmatically. As word order, word gender and pluralization rules change, concatenation methods that worked in English will instead produce garbled and nonsensical sentences.

As another example, Calendar classes might not be provided with locale information. Or a font that won’t work in Chinese may be embedded. There are tons of issues like this, many that are difficult to find in testing. The whole process becomes more complicated and impactful when you have multiple teams that may be distributed over geography driven on fast moving deliverables.

Our customers agree, it’s important to continuously check software as it’s being written for internationalization (i18n) issues. Likewise, integrating ongoing localization (L10n) automation into developer workflow is imperative. Otherwise you fall behind, bugs get lost in testing, or worse – problems fall into a black hole backlog. You get a better product and user experience, in less time and less hassle if you make i18n & L10n an automatically measured, managed and visible part of each sprint and release.

Follow-up Reading on Continuous Internationalization and Localization

To read more about what continuous internationalization and localization systems can mean for your software development, download our free Continuous Globalization white paper: http://lingoport.com/continuous-globalization-whitepaper/.

To learn more about the Lingoport Suite, including Globalyzer, Resource Manager and Dashboard, please visit http://lingoport.com/products. Check the wiki links on that page too: wiki.lingoport.com

Continuous Globalization Whitepaper

Integrate Internationalization and Localization with Agile Development

Continuous Software GlobalizationAs software development has moved to faster and continuous release cycles, manual and disconnected localization tasks create departmental discord and backlogs.

The Lingoport Suite continuously measures, visualizes, and automates internationalization and localization at the source code repository and developer desktop and checkin level.

Download our Continuous Globalization whitepaper, which explores the integration of internationalization and localization into ongoing software development activities. Submit the form below, and the whitepaper will be emailed to you.

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Summer reading (and viewing) from Lingoport

Late summer is a good time to catch up on industry-related reading. In that spirit, we’re arranging open access for the rest of August and the first week in September to some of our white papers, webinar recordings and blog posts on software internationalization and Continuous Globalization (No forms required). We always look to provide a development perspective to optimizing global releases and processes.

Here are a few features in particular:

  • Continuous Globalization Workflow webinar recording – an overview of issues, pitfalls and gains for integrating Continuous Globalization into agile development
  • i18n projects, Not That Simple – a whitepaper describing issues and complexity of internationalizing software for the first time.
  • 6 Steps to Managing an i18n Implementation – a short and sweet blog post guide to help you understand and communicate key issues and steps.

For the full list of open access reading, please visit this page: http://lingoport.com/lingoport-summer-reading-2016/

New Lingoport Suite Releases: JavaScript i18n Focus

Lingoport has released a new edition of its product suite that integrates software internationalization (i18n) and localization (L10n) into every sprint and release. With companies launching and adapting their software for global markets faster than ever, there is a burden on delivering a high quality user experience that handles locale requirements gracefully, including language, cultural formatting and adaptability.

This release includes Globalyzer 5.2 and Lingoport Resource Manager 3.0 (LRM).

Globalyzer finds and fixes i18n issues as part of the continuous development process or can be run on existing source code. LRM tracks and verifies changes to resource files within the source code repository that will need to be translated, and automatically sends those changes out to localization vendors and updates the repository upon translated return.

  • Globalyzer 5.2 new features and enhancements focus on i18n challenges for JavaScript, with specific i18n rule categories for AngularJS, jQuery, ReactJS and NodeJS libraries.
  • LRM 3.0 new features include: Integration with SDL’s Worldserver™ translation management system, Workforce™ (AtTask), extending LRM via custom tasks, and a transformer for .json into properties files for L10n vendor technologies that don’t support .json.

“A vast majority of our customers’ development efforts use different flavors of JavaScript.” explained Olivier Libouban, Lingoport’s VP of Product Development. “We see JavaScript targeted for the browser and even on the client side. Yet JavaScript code often has a high density of internationalization issues, some of which are specific to various libraries.”

“With the velocity of ongoing product development there is pressure to internationalize, enable globalization testing and keep translations in parity with shortened release cycles.” added Adam Asnes, Lingoport CEO. “Once a new feature or release is out, it becomes hard to go back to find and fix i18n and L10n issues later on, plus you don’t want to treat global customers like second class users letting new features fall behind.”

The Lingoport Suite makes these globalization activities visible with direct navigation to issues that would be otherwise hidden in volumes of code, plus automates and verifies activities that are error prone and take time away from primary product development pursuits. The Lingoport Suite integrates with leading source control management systems and developer environments.

The LRM 3.0 enhancements further the ability to connect and manage software translation as companies rely on localization vendors and technologies to support their rapid release cycles.

Globalyzer 5.2 release notes: http://wiki.lingoport.com/Globalyzer_Release_Notes

LRM release notes: http://wiki.lingoport.com/LRM_Release_Notes

To learn more about Lingoport Suite please visit: http://lingoport.com/products
About Lingoport

Lingoport provides a software and professional services that enable globally-focused companies to create and maintain products that works elegantly in every language and locale. See http://lingoport.com.

i18n Webinar: Continuous Globalization Workflow

Perhaps you’ve heard the analogy that a good user experience is like a joke, you shouldn’t have to explain it. It’s not a leap to use that analogy as reasoning for supporting an active focus on optimizing internationalization and localization. Continuous GlobalizationIf global user communities are important to you, they should be experiencing a product that is right in step with your feature development.

The mechanics of achieving that globalization goal can be difficult, especially in light of fast and frequent release cycles with small incremental changes and even traditional vendor capabilities. Globalization without automation makes for much work and process that can be prone to errors, omissions and extra expense.

There is no doubt that implementing continuous globalization in software development will have some very happy outcomes. I can write that having seen it from organization to organization when we work with development and localization teams. It makes L10n cool and even a visible, natural aspect of product development. In this webinar, we’re going to show how it works.

We’ll provide a live, hands-on example of the development and L10n workflow:

  • Updating source code
  • Adding strings to the U/I
  • Automatically checking for i18n issues
  • Automated file packaging from the source repository and sending them off for translation
  • Verifying the files upon return and updating of the source repo

We will also discuss both the impacts of continuous globalization on business objectives and development, localization and localization vendor teams.

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Webinar – False Positives and Managing Globalization In Sync with Development

When globally-focused companies begin implementing continuous globalization, they inevitably touch on disparate concerns between development and localization teams. Development teams commonly have fast and feature-focused release cycles. The localized quality of those releases is dependent on concurrent internationalization (i18n) and localization (L10n) activities, but it’s hard for the localization teams to stay in sync.

Webinar Held on May 11th – Complete the Form Here to Watch the Recording

The most common developer objection to implementing continuous globalization systems concerns managing false positives which distract teams from real issues. Let me explain.

A system like the Lingoport’s Globalyzer and the full Lingoport Suite, analyzes code for i18n issues at key strategic points during ongoing development. But if the results are clouded with false positives (detected issues that really aren’t a problem), then you create lots of friction from development. It would be like that fable of The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Globalyzer uses static analysis to measure and help correct i18n issues and changes that affect localization. The very fuzzy nature of i18n conditions means that you need a system that can be quickly customized and adapted for programming language, coding styles and specific application requirements. That customization needs to be powerful and quick to implement.

In this webinar, we’ll be showing multiple ways to bring that power to good use and fine tune results. Your teams get controls that help them quickly resolve issues that might otherwise not be turned up until testing, localization or even after release.

We’ll demonstrate a working sandbox example using source code in GitHub we’ll be directly processing, then step through:

  • Analyzing an entire repository for i18n issues
  • Refining analysis rules
  • Quickly and permanently addressing issues and false positives from the developer’s IDE
  • Running through issues and exceptions within the dashboard
  • Isolating just that day’s work for analysis before committing to the repository
  • Automatically finding and handling changed strings affecting the U/I and updating for localization

Who should attend:

  • Development managers and engineers
  • Localization managers and engineers
  • Program managers
  • Product managers

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Lingoport Turns 15

Last month, LinkedIn reminded me that I started Lingoport 15 years ago. I’m not big on work anniversaries but this one made me stop and think. Forgive me as I take a little time to post about the road we’ve traveled.

I incorporated Lingoport in March of 2001 starting up at the kitchen table. Back then it was just me, a few product idea diagrams and a network of localization and developer friends I could call upon.

First project work I won was for a calendar application for a long gone company called CriticalPath (remember them?). Second notable customer was working on an early system for internet connectivity on airplanes, and we all know what horror happened in September of 2001. It would be fair to say that the first few years had absolutely brutal ups and downs. Thankfully, our challenges now are operational and strategic rather than basic survival and making payroll.

Lingoport existed initially as an internationalization (i18n) services company, but my team and I always had a product vision that would put i18n and localization (L10n) concurrent with development, rather than as an afterthought.

Now people tell me that you can’t have both a product and services company. Personally, I think that’s an incorrect assumption. Some of the very best product companies also deliver services. Especially in the early days, when you are delivering services and knitting them together with products, you get an immediate and deep feedback loop as to what’s actually useful. The difficulty is in getting to the point where you can clearly segment services and product development personnel, objectives, and measurement. To get there, it takes determined people, discipline, creativity and a commitment to finding a way. In fact, looking back, I’d say that our team turned around limitations into strengths and creative initiatives.

Lingoport’s products have gone from the early days of an in-house command-line code scanner, to a full suite with multiple components that globalize development from code creation, to ongoing localization maintenance. We’re automating,measuring and managing i18n quality in dashboards, on the desktop and the check-in and review process. We’re also managing linguistic changes to resource files and automating transfer between the source repository and translation updates. We’ve even added i18n online training.  All this serves to keep enterprise globalization quality high despite rapid and frequent agile sprints and releases.

Our product development has always been based on tight interaction with our customers. In Olivier Libouban and Lori Cameron and their teams, we have a healthy dose of product and service leadership to match the changing needs of development practices and continuously integrated systems. Our customers include some of the largest technology enterprises and fast up-and-comers in the news, and they are extremely supportive with product input.

The current news at Lingoport is quite good. Last year we nearly doubled product sales from the year before which was also excellent. This year, we are on pace to do that again and as of my writing this on April 13th, total revenues have already eclipsed 2015. Not bad. To keep that going also requires delivering excellent service and support for our customers’ success. Growth with customer chaos is just not worth it. Customer success is at the core of our company culture and individual integrity. I simply know that our team will proactively work with our customers to impact their globalized product development in visible and meaningful ways.

On the immediate product horizon is continuing work on i18n coding issues refinement (that never ends), and new methods to support integrated i18n in the development enterprise. Our vision and outcome is that i18n and L10n as it relates to developing software is just like any other coding quality objective. That is, globalization should be easy to integrate, measure and act upon. The ultimate analogy is to make it like turning the lights on and off. You just expect it to work and work well. It’s not an afterthought.

To that end, one of the principle concerns we hear when with prospective customers and client teams is that static analysis, like our Globalyzer, will produce tons of false positives that will overwhelm any positive value from the process. That’s why every single Lingoport product release addresses some enhancement of detection and filtering to get better results faster and easier. The last year in particular we added more ways to reduce and manage false positives quickly and easily. That warrants a bit of discussion and its own webinar. So if you’ve been interested enough to read this far into the post, may I suggest that you sign up for our next webinar?

False Positives and How to Manage i18n and L10n During Development

I have enjoyed getting to know all our customers and friends of Lingoport, of which there are many. I’m thankful for our team, many of whom you may know and some you probably don’t. Thank you for making me ever so fortunate.

Yours,

Adam Asnes

CEO, Lingoport

Globalyzer 5.1 Released: Enhanced Java i18n, Globalyzer Lite improvements

April 5, 2016 – Lingoport is pleased to announce its Globalyzer 5.1 release now on Globalyzer.com. Globalyzer enables development teams to find and fix internationalization (i18n) issues in code during development rather than later during testing, localization and backlogs.

Highlights of the release include:

  • Finer control detecting and filtering locale-sensitive methods for Java
  • Globalyzer Lite and API enhancements and other improvements

There are many methods in Java that are capable of supporting locale formatting and processing. However if they are not actually passed the locale, they won’t work as expected. For example, a calendar class that is not locale-aware may default to US formatting (month/day/year), which can confuse the user. The new filtering lets teams set conditions that pinpoint these types of issues, while also reducing false positive reporting. A similar feature was implemented for string detection and filtering in version 5.0.

Globalyzer Lite and automated scanning via API continues to be heavily used for continuous internationalization in globally focused development teams. The 5.1 release adds scanning behaviors that were previously only available in the Globalyzer Workbench.

Lingoport has also enhanced i18n support for GitHub pull requests so that the scanning and fixing process measurement can be as close to the daily development work as possible. When an individual pushes contributions to the code, a pull request allows developers to review the changes before merging the modifications to the master branch. The Lingoport Suite can show i18n issues on those changes via the Dashboard. It’s much easier to fix a small amount of issues isolated to an individual developer’s contribution, rather than letting them accumulate for later – which sometimes never comes.

Globalyzer is part of the Lingoport Suite for finding, fixing and continuously supporting internationalization and localization for software development. It’s used by leading technology firms to deliver software that elegantly supports worldwide locale formats and languages. Lingoport Suite includes Globalyzer, Lingoport Dashboard, and Lingoport Resource Manager.

For the Globalyzer 5.1 release notes, please visit: http://wiki.lingoport.com/index.php5?title=Globalyzer_Release_Notes
To learn more about the Lingoport Suite, visit http://lingoport.com/products

About Lingoport…

Lingoport provides a software suite and professional services that enable globally focused companies to create and maintain software that works elegantly in every language and locale.

The Lingoport Suite includes Globalyzer Server, Workbench, Command Line and Lite, plus Lingoport Dashboard and Resource Manager. Working together, these products continuously monitor, fix and manage both internationalization and localization in each software sprint and release.

Contact: sales (at) lingoport.com, +1 (303) 444-8020

Lingoport Releases Dashboard 5.0

Lingoport is pleased to announce its Dashboard 5.0 release is now available. Lingoport Dashboard provides a clear picture of the internationalization and localization status of software. You can monitor and manage software globalization at the point of creation continuously as it integrates with source code repositories and code check-ins.

Highlights of the Lingoport Dashboard 5.0 release include:

  • Instrumented detection for string concatenations
  • Bulk actions for filtering, issue assignment, status and more
  • Faster navigation to globalization issues
  • Embedding in other SonarQube dashboards
  • Analysis of developer pull requests in addition to entire files and repositories

Lingoport Dashboard 5.0With software sales and user engagement often gaining 50% or more of revenues based on sales outside of home markets, there’s a clear need to match software globalization with the pace of agile development and continuous release schedules. Internationalization and localization create a matrix of issues and updates that affect every sprint and feature release. The Lingoport Suite and in particular, Lingoport Dashboard makes i18n management a clearly instrumented process so that corrections can be quickly made during development rather than depending on testing iterations which are always more expensive and time-consuming. Using the Lingoport Suite keeps both internationalization and localization concurrent with release activities, rather than falling into backlog or distracting developers from their release timelines.

“Just like with any coding quality measurement and with accelerated speed of development, we’ve seen that teams need powerful interactive dashboards that automatically keep pace with change.  This contrasts with traditional methods of relying on reports and scripts, which live on individual inboxes. Inboxes and reports are where data goes to die rather than meaningfully impacting teams and organizations to improve practices within and across teams.” explained Adam Asnes, Lingoport’s CEO.

To view the Dashboard 5.0 release notes, please visit: http://wiki.lingoport.com/index.php5?title=Dashboard_Release_Notes

To learn more about the Lingoport Suite, visit http://lingoport.com/products

New Webinar: Continuous Globalization from Startups to Enterprises

There’s a special dynamic of product invention, adaptation and speed in startup software development. Prototype, show, adjust and keep moving forward. Teams knock themselves out to build a minimum viable product, get a customer, and get funding.

Then comes the next phase where success is really built – going from minimum viable product (MVP) to minimum loveable product (MLP) and beyond. That’s where software internationalization and localization should be considered (with business case) and baked into development while preserving nimble product development engagement.

There are lessons from the startup world that absolutely apply to mature global enterprises. With the pace of incremental change from sprints and continuous delivery, there’s never been a better time to make software internationalization and localization instrumented, adaptive and linked to every sprint and release.

This webinar is over. Complete the form below to receive a link to the recording. 

Key webinar discussions:

  • The business case and what the business case means to your team and company
  • How much i18n is enough i18n?
  • Development resistance and globalization
  • A system for rapid change
  • Continuous i18n, L10n processes, measurement, and testing
  • Lowering the development burden
  • Avoiding backlog purgatory

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