Drupal 8 multilingual tidbits 4: highly flexible detection options

Up to date as of October 16th, 2015.

Once/if you have multiple languages configured on your website, selecting from them for the page becomes an important question. The Drupal 8 language detection and selection options are located the same place they were in Drupal 7 but almost all options got some improvement.

Useful out of the box

Drupal 7 only had the default language detection method turned on, so even if you kept adding in more and more languages (and even if you enabled the language switcher block), the URLs did not work. You still needed to get here and configure the URL detection method. Now this is built-in, so adding languages and placing a selector block would in itself make multiple languages accessible.

Drupal 8 multilingual tidbits 3: simple language setup, optional English

Up to date as of October 16th, 2015.

As I've outlined in the previous post Drupal 8 core now has 4 core modules to deal with language support. This tidbit will be about the simple language setup features provided by Language module, which is the base for every other language feature.

Language module provides a simple language overview screen. You can reorder existing languages, remove languages (except the site default language, which on the screenshot is English) and add new languages. It is not anymore possible to have enabled and disabled languages on your site. This feature resulted in a confusing mess where some places and permission combinations allowed for the use of disabled languages and it was used as a means to stage certain new content. Just use proven content staging techniques (or unpublished posts) for new language content.

Drupal 8 multilingual tidbits 2: more core modules

Up to date as of October 16th, 2015.

Once you install Drupal 8 in a foreign language, you'll have Language and Interface translation modules enabled with the chosen language configured. Drupal 8 has more core modules handling language related features, yet less requirement for contributed modules to be installed for the most important tasks (on my last count, the 4 modules explained here cover functionality of 20+ modules from Drupal 7 and in much better ways).

Why have multiple modules when a multilingual site just needs all the features? Well, there are also foreign language (not multilingual) sites that we aim to support better and multilingual sites can be very different as well. Also, admittedly there are technological reasons to organize the modules by the features they provide.

In Drupal 8 multilingual is one of the groups of core modules, so you'll find these modules under the main core modules in a neat group.

Drupal 8 multilingual tidbits 1: language first

Up to date as of October 16th, 2015.

Starting a new series

The Drupal 8 Multilingual Initiative was announced on May 9th, 2011. Since it's inception, the heroic efforts of people on the initiative resulted in hundreds of issues resolved but there are always more to perfect. We have made huge advances in terms of multilingual support in Drupal 8 thanks to all these changes and you can still help to make it perfect.

I'd love to highlight some of the great improvements that we made to make you excited about what is coming and point out some related places where you can still help to perfect what we have so far. This is number one in a series of short posts to discuss these improvements.

Language first in the installer

Drupal 8 makes language occupy the prominent first step in the installer. And compared to Drupal 7 where you were presented with a wall of textual instructions as to how to locate and download a translation file, place into a specific directory and reload the page, Drupal 8 comes with the realization that these are all tasks we can automate. So we show you about a 100 languages to choose from to install Drupal 8 in.

The new Drupal version also comes with highly improved browser based language detection capabilities, so it will attempt to automatically identify your preferred language for this installation based on what your browser tells us. So in most cases, you'll likely just hit the button to continue and not think much about this.

We not only present you with the list of languages, we also download and import the translations to your system proper. So all the steps you did manually before are now automated. The installer can also fully show up in right to left languages.

Also, if you pick a foreign language here, English will not be among your site's languages anymore either. Drupal 8's assumption is that if you install in a foreign language, you likely want a foreign language website without English showing up at all kinds of places as an option. Compared to Drupal 7 where English was not possible to remove.

Multilingual Drupal 8 - plans and reality session video and slides from Portland

I've had the pleasure to present the current state of the Drupal 8 Multilingual Initiative - great work of numerous highly respected individuals - just last week in Portland at DrupalCon Portland 2013. Although I did do live demos at previous editions of this session, at this point we have just too many great improvements, that it does not fit anymore. So for this session, I opted to provide a better overview and more context as to how this affects site building in general for Drupal 8, including the extent of change as it applies to contributed modules.

We are still working on several key pieces of the initiative, and will have meetings every Wednesday leading up to the code freeze coming July 1st, 2013. Join on our meetings to help with the remaining tasks. We have tasks for all experience levels!

Download the slides from https://portland2013.drupal.org/sites/default/files/slides/D8MI-Portland...