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Considering international reporting requirements

BIRT Report Designer supports creating reports that contain international data for use in multiple locales. A locale defines a set of conventions for providing, displaying, and sorting data. Numbers, dates, and currencies appear differently in different locales. The following examples show dates in long date format when the locale is English (United States) and when the locale is German (Germany):

Wednesday, July 7, 2008
Mittwoch, 7. Juli 2008

BIRT reports automatically display date, number, and currency data according to the locale to which the report user’s machine is configured. You do not have to do anything special to display these types of data in multiple locales.

When designing a report for international users, consider the following questions:

  • Will the report be viewed in one locale? If yes, which locale?

    If your report will be used in a specific locale, design and test the report in that locale.

  • Will the report be viewed by users in multiple countries?

    If your report will be viewed by users in multiple countries, you should consider internationalizing the report so that it appears correctly in multiple locales. For example, rather than specifying text directly in a report design, you can create text strings in an external source and provide translations of those strings. Using this technique, called localization, the report displays text in the language that is specified by the locale of the user's machine.

    Testing report output in multiple locales is an important early stage in the report design process. Develop a small sample and send that to recipients who can test the output in that locale and, in particular, can test printed output for possible glitches in fonts and layout. Even decisions such as how names are to be displayed can be challenging if the report is to be viewed by users with differing language competencies.

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