L10N: Maintainable Resex Files
When you plan to make your project multi-language and you are nearing its completion it is not
smart to put those resource strings on a .resex files and edit right from your IDE.
Why? Simply because it is not maintainable and hard to track changes whenever
you add new entries. Also, your translators don't know anything about Visual Studio and of course you won't require them to install it. They even can't read XML files.
For new on resex, resex as I called it is the raw resource file for .NET web
and windows applications. It used to store strings and images that is so smart
it can automatically transform your application into a multi-language
product with very little effort, just some filename tweaks. These resex files
when compiled turned into .resources file placed on specific folder named after
the cultures used. A resex file is nothing but an XML file.
If you create a resex file Admin.Messages.sv-SE.resex (swedish-sweden) and
Admin.Messages.nn-NO.resex (norweigian-norway), when the project was compiled it
will create folders sv-SE and nn-NO on your output folder.
While your are on development and using VS2005 IDE, string resources are
automatically sorted whenever you close the editor and open it again. If you
have 1,000 string entries A-Z and you added new strings in e.g. ErrorInvalidPath
and ErrorTransactionDeclinedDueToExpiredCard and you closed the editor, then you
have to scroll again and search for those entries in cases you need to change
it. Inconsistencies on naming resource IDs may arise as entries gets
That said, it is better if you just create an excel file for those entries.
Named the file after the assembly name, in my case I have Admin.Messages.xls,
Admin.Labels.xls, Admin.Mails.xls that corresponds to Admin.Messages.resex,
Admin.Labels.resex and Admin.Mails.resex respectively. Inside are multiple
sheets named after the culture and with values in reference into master
entries. On each template I have sheets en-US, da-DK, nn-NO, sv-SE etc. Whoever
you want to add new entries, you need to add it on the master sheet. Open the
specific sheet and copy all entries. Open the resex file on your IDE, delete all
entries and paste rows you copied from Excel. May sound complicated? download
the template here.
To track versions of these files, I advised that you create an "artifacts"
folder on your source controls trunk.
Btw I'm working now in porting Xeno, a tool created by punzie of PHINUG, that
read these excel files to generate the resex files. It works on VS2003 but I
have some issues using it on VS2005. More on my L10 experience. Stay tuned.