More RTL (and I don't mean run-time library)

15 February 2007

Although it seems as if I've been ignoring the comment thread for my post on RTL language support, I have been religiously reading everything that's been said there. I don't dispute that RTL language support is a good thing for us to do, or for any component vendor to have, I just have to consider the business rationale.

In the past six months I have been watching our sales, especially their provenance. In very hand-wavy terms, our biggest market is the US and the second biggest, the EU. Third in the list is Australasia. After that, it's a toss-up, there's no real leader in the regions that are left (although, interestingly enough, South Africa is pretty strong).

Hallvard Vassbotn's comment this morning gave me pause though. Although my analysis of where we sell is important, it doesn't give me the whole picture. What I hadn't really considered -- and with hindsight it's an obvious lack of foresight -- is that software companies, no matter where they're located (including our biggest markets), may be selling or wanting to sell into the Middle East and therefore need RTL language support.

Nevertheless, I'm in a bind. In the next couple of days, we'll be publishing our roadmap for 2007. As you'll see, it's pretty complete (and we had to push the teams to reveal some of the detail). Also, it should be fairly obvious that the further out we prognosticate the more fuzzy things get. However, there's just not much room in there for extra unplanned work, like RTL language support.

So, hypothetically, in order to do it we would either have to delay some of the things we're planning, or we'd have to employ more developers (and remember that we have two product lines at least to modify for Windows targets), or we'd have to contract the work out.

The first option, especially after we publish the roadmap, would be a no-no. If we did, I'd love to sit on the sidelines to hear some of the explosions, but of course I'd have to don the asbestos suit and wade into the flames.

The second option is a possibility, without a doubt, especially given that we are already expanding some of our teams; but then again we're only expanding them because we have some aggressive goals this year for them. We're certainly not expanding the teams in order to produce some slack to do other undefined projects.

As for contracting out the work, it's very rare that we do it. The issue is that we also need to manage the project on our side and that requires one resource, and it's a team lead type resource at that. It's those resources that are in high demand already.

So, I'm back to square one: it's worth doing, but I just can't see us doing it this year.

27 comment(s)
> In the next couple of days, we'll be publishing our roadmap for 2007

What? DX is going to publish a roadmap???

I can remember, some time ago, maybe even years, I asked for a roadmap in one of the DX newsgroups.
The reaction by DX was, let's say, disgust, outrage or indignation, or whatever you english speaking folks would ever call this.
(I think it was Ray, but I'm not sure,  so please bear with me if I'm wrong.)

It 's nice to see DX constantly learning something new.

15 February, 2007
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)
Yep, we're going to publish a roadmap, our first. It's going through the final proofing as we speak.

Cheers, Julian
15 February, 2007
Greg Bishop
Very nice to hear.  As a subscriber of the VCL line, I think this will be a valuable tool in justifying a renewal.
15 February, 2007
Luc Debrun
if polite pleading, agressive begging and intensive feet stomping will not convince that RTL is important not only for a good base of their customer but also for DevEx themselves (more sales in the long run), then may be overt coersion will do the trick.

I will contact our office of Legal Affairs and ask them to hound you to remove the UN logo on your customer page ( unless DevEx supports RTL AND Unicode soon.

Arabic, Chinese and Russion are three the UN's six official languages. They represent together close to 40% of the world's population (if not more).  
15 February, 2007
I read through the thread on RTL and I would like to add another comment. I believe that choosing a UI framework is a long time investment and we spent much time deciding which component vendor we would go with. This of course included comparing feature sets, performance, support etc.
One thing that strikes me with the RTL issue is that it is a go/no-go feature. Many other features can be added by using some complimentary library.
Since we are located in Israel I would not pick a UI suite that does not support RTL. This is despite the fact that we don't need RTL support on current projects. I never posted a question/request to DevExpress and I believe many other potential customers didn't as well. The problem is that I (and many others) don't show up on your chart, we just went with other vendors.

BTW, (I just couldn't let the opportunity pass while posting a comment on your blog)
CodeRush rocks!
16 February, 2007
Greg Shelton
So why would DX be compelled to remove the UN logo?  Is DX lying about the UN being a customer?  Did the UN skip the due diligence step and just assume that the products offered RTL support?  I don't really need or want RTL support, but I can understand why it would be important to some developers.  

DX is responding to their customer base in the way they feel best serves the MAJORITY of their customers.  There are tons of other suites out there, but I'm guessing you know what I've already found out.  While DX may not offer all the bells and whistles the other guys do, although their product isn't second class by any stretch of the imagination, their products are unique and stand out in the crowd.  

Also, find me another component shop of this size that is as transparent with their customers as DX.  This is REALLY important to me.  The ability to vote for suggestions you'd like implemented, while it won't guarantee implementation, does give DX an idea of how their customers would like to see the products evolve.  The ctodx blog is another great example --- looking forward to seeing the roadmap btw.

Enough brown nosing for now.  The day may come when DX isn't providing me with a good ROI.  Either because my needs aren't shared by the MAJORITY of other developers or DX stops doing what it has done well in the past.  When that day comes, I'll move on.  Until then I'm all on board.
16 February, 2007
Vikay Menon
I agree with Luc Debrun...although I and my company do not at present use RTL or the above mentioned languages, I do not understand this reluctance on part of the Devexpress team. It seems to be a slam dunk case of appropriate investment for new growth.

I must add, that I WAS a sceptical user of your products (especially after trying out similar products from other companies), but have converted since and hope Devexpress continues to grow in leaps and bounds. Eagerly awaiting the roadmap!
16 February, 2007
My earlier post was meant to be a joke. No need to start a dispute or quoting me left and right. It is just that the UN logo on the DX page mentioned above, links to the home page of the UN and you can see there that the website caters to all the mentioned languages. Promoting diversity is one of those things we do, and we get a little protective when people use our name and logo.

So, I am just sad to see that a company I love and support -- by not only buying its products but also recommending them to others, prefer to take the narow path to look at its own ROI rather than looking at the ROI of its own clients.

I am 100% certain that DX ROI would also increase if the latter startegy was chosen because they would get many more clients from all parts of the world.

Dx does cater to the majority of their clients (including me who only needs English and possible localization in French and Spanish) because a large number of programmers decided not to become Dx clients just because of lack of RTL and UNICODE.  
16 February, 2007
Renaud Bompuis
RTL support would be good but let's face it: it "only" concerns a handful of scripts like Arabic, Hebrew and a few minor (in the sense of how many people use it) others like Urdu (use in Pakistan).
While support for Arabic and Hebrew are certainly important to a vast number of people, it's probably true that implementing compliance is not trivial in terms of resources.

I'd like DevEpress to at least introduce LTR support as a long-term commitment so they gradually implement it in their products until each of them is compliant. It's probably OK if the effort takes years, I too would prefer their resources to be focused on bug quashing and features.

Regarding Unicode and Luc's remark about lack of support, maybe I'm mistaken but .Net natively supports Unicode strings and it seems that the DevExpress components do as well (try to copy-paste some Chinese to be displayed in the editors and you'll see that it should work).
17 February, 2007
Abdurahman Almatrodi
Hi all.

FYI mr.Julian M Bucknall i am finishing my order for DXperience Enterprise Subscription with source.

i will try to solve the most important thing RTL myself.

hopping to change you Roadmap!.

14 March, 2007
Abdullah Almogbil
Hi, Julian

I had to tell you that you are right about what you are saying " In the past six months I have been watching our sales, especially their provenance. In very hand-wavy terms, our biggest market is the US and the second biggest, the EU. Third in the list is Australasia. After that, it's a toss-up, there's no real leader in the regions that are left (although, interestingly enough, South Africa is pretty strong)." and "Although we have a regular, but small, rate of requests for RTL support in our components", but you forgot to ask yourself why you have only small request for RTL.

I can tell you why, it is because every company in the Middle East  when they review your product, they found out that it does not support RTL, so they have to look for another component which has RTL.

Ask the car companies in England, how many requests they get from USA customers asking for their cars and its parts. I am sure a view requests, that does not mean they do not use cars, but the cars sold in England does not match their needs and driving rules in USA.

Because, in England, the driver set in right side, while in most country the diver set in Left side.

If this feature (RTL) is available, you can determine accurately  how many request you get? Other than that you can not make your decision based on requests of people who thought it is a matter of time to easily support RTL with few months, and you may keep on not support their needs of RTL.

24 March, 2007
Abdurahman A. Almatrodi
mr. Julian
just remember this. about what you said "In the past six months I have been watching our sales...". Do you think that RTL people will buy it if it is not supporting their needs?.

in my opnion your are the best right now, but it is so important to keep that and collect customers as many as you can.

25 March, 2007
Tom Dromi

Hi Julian,

I know that making this change on Xtragrid is not too difficult: every time I need to use a grid I rewrite your source and make the RTL Property to work. But as always the problem is when you release an updates...

I think that you can learn from Adobe – a few month after they release a new version they release additional ME version.  Because the type of your code I think you can hire a contractor that will make these ME versions without much overheads.

In addition - try this:

It work in some controls.

Tom Dromi, Israel

21 July, 2007
Jameel Iqbal


I am a free-lance developer based in Saudi Arabia.  I came across your product today and have been downloading the trail, as i write this comment.

The fact that your feature list didn't mention about RTL feature has landed me to this blog.  Every client that I develop for asks for the application to be bi-lingual, if not completely arabic.  

Though I was happy to see what your suite offers, I don't thing I will be buying it.  I can't invest on something that will help me in just about 10% of my projects.  I would rather go for a suite that offers the best of both worlds - LTR and RTL.

16 January, 2008
Bishoy Adel

What about just fixing the RTL text displaying and writing in text fields in near builds, and the rest of mirroring all the controls from right to left later when you are ready to spend on that?

I think just fixing the text orientation will save us and not take so much time from you, just propagate the RightToLeft property from parent controls to the Text fields created on the fly when a grid cell is being edited, or the readonly version when the cell is just shown.


23 June, 2008
avi almog

to Tom Dromi

i looking for a way to invert the Grid to RTL

can you help me ?

5 August, 2008
George Greg

Can please provide us with a roadmap on when you are planning to support RTL or at least tell us if you planning to support RTL in the near future at all?

20 November, 2008

Need RTL support desperately !!!!

4 March, 2010

In my opinion the world is more smaller than we think, so the lack of RTL is not acceptable because of the market. As every programmer knows, customers are like a tree, to lose a node means to lose a new tree.

26 June, 2010
Abdi Bora Aydemir

This is an chicken-egg problem. No sales so no RTL, not RTL then no sales in such regions. Arabic region is a big market with many oppurtunities. Now Delphi is unicode. But we need RTL support in DevExpress VCL products.

8 August, 2010
Julian Bucknall (DevExpress)

All: Our ASP.NET products support RTL, as do our WPF and Silverlight products. The remaining issue is our traditional VCL and WinForms components. These controls were not designed or implemented with RTL languages in mind and were never marketed as supporting it. The assumptions made at the time were that text drawing and painting was left-to-right only. Retrofitting support for RTL in those products would be lengthy and would not recoup the efforts needed.

For thick clients, our recommendation is to use WPF; for web clients, ASP.NET or Silverlight.

Cheers, Julian

9 August, 2010
David Brennan

So effectively VCL users of DevExpress who sell their software globally should start the process of finding new component suites to replace the DevExpress functionality?

Because I'm pretty sure the Middle East isn't going to stop writing right to left.

And it sounds pretty adamant that you guys are not willing to support RTL even in the slightest in VCL.

Ergo DevExpress is a dead end for us.

Please correct me if my logic is wrong. I just wish I had read this before I added another user to our subscription earlier this year.

1 November, 2010
Ahmad Obay


Thanks for the update on the RTL status. I've been searching the site looking for how far XFA supports RTL and finally landed here.

I assume if WinForms components are not RTL-enabled then the Windows Application version of XFA also wont.

But what about the ASP.NET version of XFA? Does it support RTL?

RTL for WinForms would be lengthy and would not recoup the efforts needed... does that mean it's not coming anytime soon?


Ahmad Obay

14 December, 2010
Nir Nir

We need RTL also.

16 January, 2011
mohammed amer

We need RTL also.

6 June, 2011
M. Kamel

We need RTL also

we are still waiting

19 July, 2012
Mohammed Rabee

Is there roadmap for RTL support so far?

27 August, 2012

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