Monday, April 28, 2008

WPF Localization - LocBaml

In my last post I talked about using resource files (resx) to localize your WPF application. This time it is about using LocBaml to localize your WPF application. The big difference in the two approaches is that LocBaml allows you to localize your application after the fact. That is, most applications you have to plan up front to do localization, but with LocBaml you can still localize your application after development. While lots of people will say this I don't really believe it. The reason this is not true in my opinion is because LocBaml only works if all your strings are sourced in XAML. This means that if you use strings that are located in a constant file or a resx file LocBaml  will not work to localize your application. Unless you are building a smaller application or you just happen to set up your architecture so all strings are sourced in XAML you are out of luck. So really when they say you can localize your application after the fact you really can only do it if you happened to conform your application to the requirements of LocBaml. On that note lets get into preparing the application with UIDs.

In my previous example I had three labels in my application. The first label had its text defined in XAML. The other two used resx files to define their text. In this walk through we will update the first label so we can localize it as well. The first thing we want to take note of is the current XAML layout of our label.

<Label Height="28" Margin="10,13,33,0" 
  Name="lblFromXAML" Content="Text from XAML" 
You will notice nothing special about the XAML here. Now we will run the LocBaml commands. To do this we open a visual studio command prompt and run msbuild with the updateuid command switch (msbuild /t:updateuid wpflocalization.csproj). After running this command we get the follow results in the command windows.


Now if you look at the XAML that makes up the label you will see the addition of UID attribute.

<Label x:Uid="lblFromXAML" Height="28" Margin="10,13,33,0" 
Name="lblFromXAML" Content="Text from XAML" 
This UID attribute tags each localization part of the application and will allow the LocBaml utility to find each one of these areas for localization. Now when you build the application you will have a .resource.dll file in the en-US folder. It is now time to jump through hoop 1 (really hoop two because setting up UIDs should be hoop 1). You must get the SDK and build the LocBaml project to get the LocBaml.exe. Once you have done this it is time for hoop 2. Run LocBaml against the US resource dll using the following syntax: LocBaml.exe /parse en-US/WpfLocalization.resources.dll /out:UsText.csv. This will export all the XAML fields marked with a UID to the csv file. The csv file that is created has  a few lines per UID item. Here is what the csv file looks like. Had enough yet? Sorry we are not done. You should notice that in the csv file only has the text for one of our three labels (lblFromXAML). The text that is the resource file is not pulled out into the csv file. This is because LocBaml only works when all strings are sourced in XAML (something you have to take into account at design time). Now you need to pass this csv file off to someone to translate. Now Hoop 3, it is time to run LocBaml again to create our de-DE resources.dll. Once that is done you can drop that dll into your resources directory and change your localization to de-DE and the new text should show up.

If you could not tell there are a lot of hoops to get through doing localization this way. Personal, I think the process is pretty ridiculous. I have no idea why someone would do localization this way instead of using resx files. I see only cons to this approach and no advantages over the resx approach. If you have a different opinion I would really like to hear your thoughts.

1 comment:

Konstantin said...

There is free addin at, with which BAML localization process is much easier.