Lotus Symphony does Hebrew as well

Since the announcement of Lotus Symphony in Lotus Collaboration Summit at NYC, I’ve been doing some research into the Hebrew support of the product. My main concern was whether there’s an inherit bi-directional support for complex text languages (such as Hebrew and Arabic), which basically allows for both Hebrew and English to appear in the same sentence/paragraph, while maintaining the original meaning. Bidi support is what gives us (in Israel) the ability to write in English and Hebrew, with the text right aligned, at the code level, not visual (align to right/center/left) icons. Every software product that is sold in Israel must support this requirement, otherwise it’s not suitable for Hebrew (or Arabic for that matter). Ed Brill even did a little research back in March this year, prior attending a Lotusphere Comes To You event in Israel.
BTW – Announced only last week, Lotus Symphony already reached its 100,000 downloads mark. Very impressive.

Hebrew enabled, thanks to China…
Now back to the Hebrew issue. Although Lotus Symphony is based on the Productivity Tools which are embedded in Lotus Notes 8 (which in turn are based on OpenOffice.org), my first impression from the Hebrew support was not good.
I opened all the tool bars, trying to find those 2 little icons, that determine the direction of a paragraph (see first screen shot) – couldn’t find any. I consulted with some colleagues, from the product management as well as from product development, and finally, the answer came from China (Jian Fang – thanks again!). A small checkbox needed to be checked in Lotus Symphony Preferences in order to enable the RTL icons (second screen shot). And there’s even the more advanced option to change the layout of Lotus Symphony – from right to left (third screen shot below).

Available in right aligned UI as well
Below you can see Lotus Symphony’s user interface aligned to the right (interface still in English, but mirrored to the right).

And here are some sample screenshots of Lotus Symphony Documents, Spreadsheet and Presentation (respectively), with files created in Office applications.
Lotus Symphony Documents:

Lotus Symphony Spreadsheet:

Lotus Symphony Presentation:
More Lotus Symphony pictures and screen shots are available at my Flickr account.

To finish this post – a very cool animated TV ad, that I got from a friend at work. The animation looks so real, but the big story is the concept – superb !
Fight for Kisses:

4 Responses to “Lotus Symphony does Hebrew as well”

  1. 1 Liora November 24, 2008 at 23:21

    Hi Dvir, I have a wierd question. i changed in my lotus notes the shortcut for ! (ctrl+1) and now it shows me another character. it’s very annoying and i have no idea how i did it. can you advise how to reverse what i’ve done? you will be my hero if you have an answer… Thanks in advance, Liora

  2. 2 Dvir Reznik November 25, 2008 at 09:45


    I’m not sure I understand exactly what you mean, but I’m guessing you’re referring to Shift+1 (that creates ‘!’) – Ctrl+1 has no result (to the best of my knowledge).

    In any case, email me dvir at il.ibm.com and we’ll continue this offline.

    Not gonna waste my chance of becoming your hero that easy.. 😉

  3. 3 Liora November 26, 2008 at 15:56

    Thanks. I managed to find the way to solve this annoying problem.
    Start-programs-thinkvantage-keyboard customizer….

    thanks for willing to be my hero. i will keep it as a rain check.

  4. 4 Dvir Reznik November 27, 2008 at 14:14

    Anytime 🙂

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Mobile & Media Consultant. I help startup companies launch products to the consumer market. Reach out: dvir.reznik [at] gmail.com



This is my personal blog. The postings here do not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my past employers or of my clients. It is solely my opinion.