Drupal 8

Drupal 8 multilingual tidbits 19: content translation development

Up to date as of March 14th, 2017.

Now that we covered how content translation workflow works in Drupal 8, its time to look a bit at the API side. In Drupal 7 this meant dealing with scary seemingly infinitely nested arrays with language codes, field names, deltas, etc. Drupal 8 makes this a whole lot simpler.

Drupal 8 multilingual tidbits 18: core content translation workflow

Up to date as of November 10th, 2015.

In the previous tidbit, we covered content translation basics. In short now you can configure translatability on any subtype of any entity type, so for example articles or specific taxonomy vocabularies may be configured to have all their entities support translation. Then each entity structure may be configured on the field and in some cases subfield level to support translation. The question is how does it all work then, what do we do to translate content?

Drupal 8 – what's the (real) big deal about it?

I had the chance two weeks ago to talk about Drupal and Drupal 8 at the Free Software Foundation's conference in Budapest for a whole of 21 minutes. While there is this amazing 63 screen slideshow about all things new in Drupal 8 that I help keep up to date, having such short time really made me focus my message and think long and hard about how to summarize what Drupal 8 is really about for a wide range of people attending. Here is my take in written form.

Drupal has always been amazing as a structured content management tool. With content types and then entities and fields it allows us to really structure our content. Drupal 8 steps up this game several ways. First, it makes more things able to get structured. Whether it is a block or the categorization of content itself, it can be structured further with fields now. Drupal also has a history of using this structural system for flexible functionality. For example, ratings, workflows, user groups, selling content, etc. are all supported with fields (in contributed modules). In Drupal 8, comments are fields too (for example, you can take comments on user profiles) and there are more reusable field types like date, email, references, etc. built in. Best of all everything supports multiple languages and is translatable without further modules required. In short, Drupal 8 is improving on the system's key strength in all directions.

This is amazing for an enterprise because content needs to show up in a lot of places and a lot of ways these days. The more structured the content, the easier it is to pull out and display things for the environment needed. Drupal 8 makes this easy by building in entity view modes for display variants, Views for pulling data in whatever way from entities, and responsive output for flexible display on the web. Integration with third party systems and decoupled site implementations is enabled by web service support. Since Drupal knows so much more about your content structure internally as well, it can also intelligently cache (and invalidate the caches) when needed, and serve pages with much faster perceived performance (enabling the BigPipe contributed module). The markup generated is significantly better for accessibility too.

What about the small sites though? I think the changes are even more exciting there, because they lead to a lot more consistency on the site building front as well. You now use blocks to place everything on your pages (including branding, navigation and even the page title). You can use Views to customize even your administration experience and quick in-place editing and WYSIWYG integration for fields allows you to get further, faster. On top of that, rolling out changes is a whole lot easier with the built-in configuration deployment system.

Drupal 8 also grew the core community manyfold. While Drupal 7 had less than a thousand contributors, Drupal 8 has almost 3300. That is pretty remarkable, because it means the new version starts out with many more people already in the know.

All-in-all Drupal 8 really doubles down on our commitment to structured content and flexible functionality around it with a focus on making it easier to both enter and output that content however it fits, whoever the consumer is. It truly empowers you and me (as the tagline says) to build something amazing, for anyone.

Multilingual happenings at DrupalCon Barcelona

If you are interested in to learn about, solve your problems with and/or contribute to multilingual Drupal, DrupalCon Barcelona is the place to be. Here is a quick summary of things happening so you don't miss what is going on.

  1. Extended sprints before and after DrupalCon (19-21 and 26-27 September) are happening, and the multilingual team is there.
  2. Lingotek is holding a free training on Monday 1-5pm to translate Drupal sites with all the benefits of the lingotek module and services. Also a BoF on the same topic on Thu 10:45 to 11:45am
  3. Intersted in localize.drupal.org and translating Drupal itself? Come to and discuss at Bring Drupal 8 to all in their native languages on Monday 11am to noon.
  4. If you'd rather see the real life experience of Acronis, there is also a BoF presentation at the same time (Monday 11am to noon) titled Drupal 7 - Internationalisation for custom enterprise environment
  5. Drupal 8 comes with a whole new set of multilingual features, which combined with other improvements is even more powerful. Drupal 8 multilingual site building hacks is the place to be to see that in action.
  6. Just want your problems solved and move on? The multilingual therapy BoF is on for that on Wednesday lunchtime. Bring your lunch and questions/problems.
  7. If you don't have time or the opportunity to come to the Drupal 8 site building session, get the executive summary at the Acquia booth at 3:15-3:45pm on Wednesday (in the break).
  8. Tired of all this multilingual stuff? Want to learn how we managed to be so active for four years on so you can get your movement going better too? Your place is at Open source project management in the Drupal community, lessons from the multilingual team Thursday 1pm to 2pm.
  9. Just want to get stuff done (fix UI text, solve bugs, figure out issues) in core so you don't need to solve them over and over for your customers? We are also at the sprints on Friday and the community is even offering plenty of mentoring if you are entirely new. No excuses to not contribute!
  10. While not primarily multilingual content, there is also multilingual coverage in Entity storage, the Drupal 8 way, in Our experience with building Drupal 8 Sites in Alpha and Beta, in Configuration management in Drupal 8, in Building sites in Drupal 7 with an eye on Drupal 8, as well as in Let's build it on Drupal 8 and some others I likely missed (sorry for that).

Hope to see you at some of these places!

Win prizes by playing with Drupal 8's multilingual site building features!

Drupal 8 packs a historic amount of site building features which make producing websites easier than ever with core or just a couple contributed modules only. There are already various live Drupal 8 multilingual sites using little more but core.

It is hard to grasp the many things with useful levers and knobs in Drupal 8. Think about combining views with entity view modes and blocks; block language visibility with menus; user preferences with comment submission; language filtering and entity rendering; translatable fields with administration views; and so on and on.

Wouldn't it be fun to experiment with the possibilities and come up with clever ways to combine core features to solve common problems? You may be familiar with the name and format of O'Reilly's Hacks Series which reclaims the term "hacking" for the good guysfolks — innovators who explore and experiment, unearth shortcuts, create useful tools, and come up with fun things to try on their own. The excellent series inspired the name and format of our contest.

Long story short, hereby, we announce the Drupal 8 multilingual site building hacks contest!


  1. Come up with clever ways to combine Drupal 8 core features (and if needed one or at most two contributed modules) to fulfill a multilingual site building need.
  2. Write up the steps taken. See an example in hack #1. (We'll do light editing of the post if needed, don't let perfection be the enemy of good).
  3. Register on http://drupal8multilingual.org/user to submit entries (requires approval for spam protection).
  4. Submit entries by end of day (CEST) July 31st.
  5. One person may submit as many entries as they wish.
  6. All entries will be published after review (and possible light editing).

What is in it for you?

The top 3 best hacks will receive unique presents from Hook42 and Amazee Labs! (Further sponsors welcome). You'll either receive the presents at DrupalCon Barcelona or we'll mail it to you if you are not coming to DrupalCon. This is of course additionally to the joy of getting to play with some of the less frequented but definitely no less fun features of Drupal 8.

What is in it for us?

All hacks will be published under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0, so the community will benefit. Additionally to that Gábor Hojtsy and Vijayachandran Mani are building an open source presentation with the best tips (same license). This will be presented at Drupalaton Hungary and DrupalCon Barcelona. Similar to our existing open source workshop, everyone will be able to present this at local meetups and camps or follow along at home at their own pace.

What kind of hacks are we looking for?

Hack #1 is hopefully a good example. Really the only common thread between the hacks would be to satisfy a multilingual site need or use multilingual features in some other clever way (even for features that are not necessarily multilingual). Some ideas for hacks that may help you start off experimenting:

  1. Swap textual site logo Need to swap a site logo with text on it for different languages? Use a translatable custom block with an image field. Configure the display mode and add some custom CSS if needed.
  2. Translator todo helper Create a views block for content translators to summarize the number of outdated translations they have to update (and link to content administration filtered to that language)
  3. Language dependent front page Use block visibility to display up to date content on a well maintained language while an About us / Contact us page on languages where resources are limited to maintain useful fresh content.

Of course these are just some things we made up (although still eligible for the contest). Looking for your creative ideas and solutions!

Questions, concerns? Contact us!

This is a crosspost from http://www.drupal8multilingual.org/hacks.