Contributing Open Source Arabization Features
March 03, 2012


This is a lightning talk presentation given by Mario Awad during the ArabNet Digital Summit 2012. Below you can find links to download the slides, extra resources, and credits.

Talk Description and Slides

Open source is the future and is a main driver for development on many levels including but not limited to technical, social, and economic development. In our part of the world, we're not playing an important role in open source, we're not benefiting from it to the maximum, and Arabized features are still lacking in many areas. My lightning talk will hopefully persuade developers to take action, contribute more and more to open source, and assist in taking the whole ecosystem to the next level.

Preview of the "Contributing Open Source Arabization Features" slides.

Preview of the "Contributing Open Source Arabization Features" slides.


View the Slides on SlideShare.

Download the Slides in PDF Format.


Miscellaneous Tips and Resources

WordPress does not support a bilingual or multilingual blog out-of-the-box. There are however plugins developed by the WordPress community which will allow you to create a multilingual blog easily. The bad news is that relying on 3rd party plugins is not a very good idea. Sometimes those plugins don't get supported anymore. Sometimes they have bugs or security issues. More info can be found here:

Drupal supports multilingual blogs and other types of websites/content out-of-the-box using the core content translation module. However, configuring this module is not easy. The good news is that you can build a solid solution with an easy-to-use interface for multilingual websites. More info here:

In PHP, displaying Arabic numerals from 1 to 10 for example is not straightforward. You can't just write a “for” loop and output the numbers. You have to loop with a counter and then transform that counter number from English to Arabic using this PHP class for example:

PHP's unicode support is lacking for now. If you want to process Arabic characters and strings, you will have to rely on Multibyte String Functions – – and if you don't you're in for nasty surprises. For example, to count the number of characters in an Arabic string you have to use the “mb_strlen” function instead of the standard PHP “strlen” function cause some Arabic characters are encoded using more than 1 byte and you might get an incorrect count by using “strlen”.


The slides design of this talk where inspired by the excellent post Slide Design for Developers written by Zach Holman of GitHub. We have also used the Yanone Kaffeesatz Font which is distributed under an open-source license (well, specifically, under the Open Font License).

Technology Development Open Source Multilingualism

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Written by
Mario Awad

Founder of SOFTKUBE, lead developer, and getting things done addict. Passionate about open source, user interface design, business development, and the tech world.

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