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DZUG-Tagung #3: Armin Stroß-Radschinski – Setup, Design and Support of multilingual Plone sites

by Christian Scholz on September 15, 2006

Armin was holding one of two talks about Plone and multilingual content. He was giving an overview about
content, article and application life cycles supporting multilingual content.

life cycle of an application

Things to consider:

  • task and goals
  • it’s not just a simple IT task
  • check all possible scenarios
  • development costs vs. running costs (where do costs get generated)

things to consider for the life cycle of the content

  • what sort of import, web editors, external editors can/should be used.
  • how to format your content
  • do you need permalinks, UIDs,
  • what are the permissions, groups and roles of visitors and editors
  • make workflows secure and easy to use. Don’t expect CMS competence
  • archiving, relaunch and migration (make upgrades and skin changes possible to keep the application flexible)
  • important is the content, not the application

quality of communication

  • create a usable interface with a coherent look & feel and places and workflows which are easy
    to find again
  • have a clear understanding of your layout, graphics and typography (and eventually get professional help)

Separate base structures from graphical elements

  • always map structures to CSS classes and ids.
  • try to use the DOM as much as possible. Gives advantages for using scripting such as AJAX later on.
  • Migration and translations are easier to manage

application examples

  • display additional information in the context
  • With the CSS registry you can easily import CSS files under certain conditions (like members.css)

multilingual content

  • You can eventually also use the multilingual content to display an alternative scientific explanation of some topic
    instead of the easy to understand summary (so you switch between these versions via the language by defining some “virtual”
    scientific language)
  • there is usually language neutral content
  • not all content is translated

life cycle of an article

  • you usually do corrections and extensions only in the primary language
  • sometimes you have good foreign people who extend translations. Thus you need feedback.
  • here it is to decide whether to support the user with additional user interfaces or not

translate the UI

  • look into that, it’s quite easy and makes your system more easily updateble
  • to do that create an i18n folder in your product
  • *.po files overwrite defintions which are stored deeper in the tree
  • thus you can also overwrite existing translations of Plone or other products (sometimes they don’t match your site)
  • i18n folder in the products folder will overwrite all others

case study

  • the eveniosbase skin product – one skin for all
  • the eveniosface skin product – customer specific alterations (both are defined on skins layers with different priorities)

create a Plone site fast and document it

  • InstanceManager uses a config file to install products from archives, bundles, svn and the filesystem
  • you will get a clear log file with all the list of products and the versions
  • GenericSetup, user Backup and Restore
  • => easy synchronization of development and production platform

fast css editing (live editing)

  • use WebDeveloper Plug In and DOM Inspector
  • use debug mode in the Plone CSS registry
  • with WebDeveleloper you will get tabs in the sidebar with the CSS files which you can edit and copy back to your products later
  • use DOM Inspector of Firefox to discover which class is used for which element or change CSS styles