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A cross-browser, multilingual, multi-locale system for web-based interface buttons.

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000015287D
Original Publication Date: 2002-Jul-29
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-20
Document File: 5 page(s) / 80K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

Internationalization of interfaces for web-based products is a very popular and complex topic. One of the more complex issues is supporting interfaces in multiple languages in a dynamic way. The most generally agreed upon way to indicate available actions in an interface is by displaying buttons. Web designers usually use 2 approaches for displaying buttons.

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  A cross-browser, multilingual, multi-locale system for web-based interface buttons.

Internationalization of interfaces for web-based products is a very popular and complex topic. One of the more complex issues is supporting interfaces in multiple languages in a dynamic way. The most generally agreed upon way to indicate available actions in an interface is by displaying buttons. Web designers usually use 2 approaches for displaying buttons.

* html form buttons * images for buttons

Typical html form buttons supported in html 3.2 & html 4.0 do not have the look & feel of modern native-code environment widget sets (such as Windows, Macintosh, etc). Typical html form buttons do not support behaviors such as mouseOver or MouseOut. HTML form buttons are easier to support in multiple languages.

Using images for buttons is supported in html 3.2 & html 4.0 and can have the look of modern native-code environment widget sets (such as Windows, Macintosh, etc) and can also be a little more exciting visually than native code environment widget sets. The basic problem with using images for buttons is that every button (and state of that button) of the interface will need a separate graphics file. Keeping all of these files consistent can be challenging. Also if the buttons have text on or in them, this text would need to be translated if the interface was to be displayed in another language.

Our solution is to provide a framework for buttons that have all available actions and have dynamic translation capabilities. (high level description without specifics of the solution) Relating to the above these don't have the shortcomings of the traditional solutions used in web-based solutions.

In web applications, the graphics of the button themselves lack the most relative to other visual elements in the user interface. The design styles of HTML buttons are extremely lacking when the need of translation is added to the UI.

We created a system for combining text and graphics, along with JavaScript scripting and Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) properties to support the dynamic creation of multiple language, locale, culture web-based interfaces.

We created a 3 celled table with text in the middle and graphics on the outside cells. We simulate the behavior of a native-code environment button by changing the appearance of all three cells of the table when a behavior or event occurs that relates to the button.

Any behaviors supported by HTML and CSS can be associated with these buttons. Currently in the code sample, onClick, onMouseDown, onMouseOver, onMouseOut, onMouseUp are all associated with the buttons. This is the same level of richness of interaction that typical interfaces support. This level of interaction is much more than typical form buttons support

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It is not technically feasible or economically viable to translate all the buttons into GIF format. Supporting many different languag...