Single/Double Byte and Localisations

With the multiple experiences/technologies that I had done in my previous jobs, it is very important to write them down as a journal to keep myself aware of what I have exactly performed/gained in the work.

Example, for this case that I am going to apply for a Project Lead role who needs to understand single and double-byte system requirements on OEMs. I had this experience in one of the jobs as a project engineer who perform IT testing with the developers. The solution is an ASP model (Application Service Provider or nowsaday also calls Software as a Service or SaaS). The testings involves on data conversion from double bytes (input characters like Simpified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Thai or Korea) to single-byte for the database storage. The technology (although I am not fully technical inclined) is using a code conversion from the OEM device to the web application which is then integrated to the database.

The ASP solution I worked on was using a input terminal (handheld), sending the real-time information using GPRS to the wireless gateway (developed by my previous employer) using the API interface to convert the flat file/date collected into the Client’s database. OK, back to the testing we tracked the input information from the handheld’s log or event log/flat file (.csv), comparing each field on the nos of bytes, with a space to differentiate the spacing between 2 characters, to ensure the end-to-end data is truncated over at the wireless gateway correctly and to ensure the data conversion done at the Wireless gateway to the client’s database are correct. We have no control over the mechanism used on storing those information into their database.

The web testing I have done are on areas like the user interface for localisation (labels) , text translations and single/double-byte data inputs. The database is all along in UTF8 (single-byte) so conversion tool/mechanism is done on the application server to convert double byte data to fit into single-byte format. In the case of simplified chinese, we have these data shown in ‘unknown’ information but we are able to convert them in readable format (double byte) over at the webfront. How we do the tracking is by using a search function that include the unique Company ID that we are able to track if the information is correct for each entity.

For localisations, the testing done from 1 area – regional setting. In the code or a particular view/page that are translated for local language, it will check on the regional setting of the PC the user use, decode and return a localisated page of that language set in the regional setting. This setup is done for a single instance of a web portal. In some cases, 2 or more instance of a web portal (e.g abc.com/en, abc.com/cn) are created for localisations.

In ASP.NET, it is done using localisation tags referencing to the default language used on targeted object fields. E.g. If the default object field is ‘English’, below the line the programmer adds a localisation tag of a language e.g. french. So next time the program checks the regional setting of the PC is in french, it will return the page that include this tag in French texts. This feature is applicable for UTF-8 and UTF-16 ASCII support but not for non-ASCII characters (double bytes). So how do we go about this?- One way is to
pass double byte characters to a WIN32 API function and compare the string passing. (Reference – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/244046)

When doing data conversion, we also have to take note of the speed that the API function completes the conversion and display the characters to the user on the screen. (Refer – http://support.microsoft.com/kb/826276)

What else….. I need time to recount but this is really good for me to understand what I have experienced before.


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