At Mobimeter, We develop App RTL (right-to-left) development. In a App development context it means making your App content compatible with RTL languages like Arabic, Hebrew, Persian, and Urdu, which are all written from right to left. This area is often neglected by developers because of the lack of teaching resources. In this series, we hope to provide enough information to allow developers to make content that’s accessible to a broader global audience using the RTL capabilities that most App browsers currently provide.

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The Middle Eastern market is growing at a rapid pace, and, as a result, demand for IT products is also booming in the region. What is peculiar, though, is that Middle Eastern countries require design that is not only compatible with their needs and comfortable for their users, but that is also suitable to their language standards, making a serious adaptation process very important. Given that most languages spoken in the Middle East are written and read from right to left (such as Arabic, Hebrew, and Urdu), developers often face a range of problems when creating products in those languages.

What actually is RTL?

To make things clear, there is a difference between a language and its script. A script is the text or written form — while the language refers to the spoken form. So technically, right-to-left describing the script in which a language is written, comparable to left-to-right scripts, like English or French, more familiar to many Western readers.

For example, “Marhaban” – which means hello – is a word written in the English script, but has Arabic as its language, while “مرحبا” is both Arabic script and Arabic language.

On the web, as we said earlier, the term Right-To-Left indicates more than just a script for writing. It stands for all facets of developing web apps and websites that do not break or become unreadable when used with Arabic, Urdu or any other RTL script.

Before continuing, let’s just clear up some misconceptions about RTL.

  • First, RTL is not about translating text to Arabic: It means more than translating your website into Arabic and calling it a day. It’s about making every aspect the UI and layout RTL-friendly. And as I always say – and can’t stress it enough – do RTL right or don’t bother! Doing it halfway will lose your audience and credibility.
  • Second, RTL is more than just “flip all the things”: I’m not sure if this issue has been fixed yet or not, but setting your locale to Arabic in Gnome will cause the time to be shown as PM 33:12 instead of 12:33 PM.
  • Well, that is not how it works. I’m a native Arabic speaker but that doesn’t mean I tell time backwards. There are some exceptions and things to pay attention to about numbers, and we will cover them in this series.

  • The Middle Eastern market is growing at a rapid pace, and, as a result, demand for various IT products is also booming in the region. What is peculiar, though, is that Middle Eastern countries require design that is not only compatible with their needs and comfortable for their users, but that is also suitable to their language standards, making a serious adaptation process very important. Given that most languages spoken in the Middle East are written and read from right to left (such as Arabic, Hebrew and Urdu), developers often face a range of problems when creating products in those languages.
    Although this might seem like not that big of a deal, IT development for right-to-left (RTL) languages entails paying attention to a number of peculiarities. This is only further complicated by the fact that the RTL market is relatively new, and not many resources are available to help developers.
    Our experience with RTL development has enabled us to compile a thorough list of tips that are useful for anyone developing an RTL product (such as a website or mobile app). By following the tips closely, you should be able to navigate the challenging waters of RTL development and deliver a functional, user-friendly result.

Have any question? Interested in working with us? Take the first step and Contact Us. via our online form or by phone at +1 630 861 8263.

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