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GWT Goes Bidi (Bidirectional)

Over 100 million web users speak languages that are written right-to-left, such as Arabic, Hebrew and Persian.

Right-to-left language support isn’t new to GWT. GWT makes it easy to build apps localized to both right-to-left (RTL) and left-to-right (LTR) locales, mirroring the layout of the page and its widgets so that an RTL-language page flows right-to-left. GWT even makes it easy to mirror those “handed” images that need to point in a direction that makes sense within the page.

The Challenge of Bidi Text. ;GWT has recently been enhanced with some powerful features for supporting bidi text. They allow your app to correctly display and enter opposite-direction text with very little extra effort.

  • Built-in Bidi Text Support in TextBox and TextArea: Since GWT 2.1 release, TextBox and TextArea widgets are capable of automatically adjusting their direction as text is being entered (GWT Showcase example). This feature is enabled by default when at least one of the app’s locales is RTL, and otherwise can be enabled manually.
  • Built-in Bidi Text Support in Other Widgets: As of GWT 2.2, several widely used widgets such as Label, HTML, Anchor, Hyperlink and ListBox gain built-in bidi text support by exposing two new interfaces.
  • Bidi and Messages: BidiFormatter is a new class providing bidi text support primitives like estimating a string’s direction and wrapping it in HTML for correct display in a potentially opposite-direction context. The new built-in bidi text support features in the widgets mentioned above use BidiFormatter to do their stuff.


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