localization server

Localization Server status update

Several people asked me to post about the status of the localization server, so here it goes. This project was started originally by Bruno Massa, then picked up by me as part of Google Summer of Code 2007 aiming to replace the Gettext and CVS based workflow for translators, providing a fully web based translation interface. One of the cool things of working full time on Drupal at Acquia is that I have capacity for spare time developments like this one. That's great.

Experimenting with Unicode buttons

Through the development of the Localization Server project, I decided that it is important that we use icons instead of boring text links especially that we need to communicate lots of different things and provide action buttons for multiple options in a small space.

We do not (yet?) have a graphics artist to help out here, so it turned out that whatever icon set we choose, there will be some problem with the icons size, the exact set of icons available, their color, and so on. So it occured to me that we have a huge set of symbols already in the Unicode character set which Drupal is using, so why not use those as icons?

GMail's labels, Mint's Peppermill site and others already use a trick to wrap a few tags with specific margins to get a rounded cornered button feel, and putting a Unicode symbol in as text makes for a useful button. It is definitely not as perfect as specially tailored icons, but it allows for a few neat things. Let's see...

The "Merry Christmas" update for Localization Server

The current Drupal process of translating with Gettext PO files, trying to get them into CVS before a release file is generated and then going over hops to update it properly is far from ideal. There are lots of drawbacks, and I started working on a web interface this summer, sponsored by the Google Summer of Code program to improve this situation. Unfortunately the server is not yet ready for prime time (on drupal.org), but there are a number of beta testing servers where some translation teams already try to leverage the cool things this tool offers, so I have lots of feedback on the issue queue.

Localization server 5.x-1.0-alpha2 user interfaceIn the last two weeks, I spent a sizable amount of my free time on improving the navigation user interface, and adding team features to the localization server, which resulted in a huge changeset, and consequently an 5.x-1.0-alpha2 release of the module, which is now available for download.

I put in a lot of thought into designing an interface which is both easier on the newcomers and on the experienced translators, but honestly I focused more on the experienced translators with as easy access to their work as possible, implementing "quick jump forms", direct linking possibility to the translation filter pages, and so on. Note that I am not a professional interface designer, I make plans up as I go along, based on user feedback and my own focus areas.

While there is still lot of room for improvement, I believe this user interface update makes using the application easier. I tried to concentrate on emphasizing the application aspects, but honestly this is not easy when you don't have control over the theme your application is displayed with. I played with adding a web application theme into the mix and requiring that for Localization Server onwards, but then decided that this can be done later if desired. For now the navigation changes can live well with any theme not exactly focused on web applications, but web sites. I see however that in the not so distant future, I might need to tie the interface to a theme, because that allows proper focus on a usable application interface.

Check out some screenshots of how the current interface looks on my Flickr account. Next up is fixing some remaining bugs, as well as new bugs introduced with this navigation interface update and finally improving on the translation interface itself.

DrupalCon Barcelona: I'm #200

Dries Knapen just posted about the 200th registration for DrupalCon Barcelona:

We just had our 200th registrant signing up for DrupalCon Barcelona. This is great news, and I'm sure a lot of other people are planning on joining us as well.

Yes, that 200th registrant was me. I was struggling with my bank for more then a month to get my cards (including a virtual MasterCard, which allows me to pay online as securely as possible finally). Then I was away for a week on holiday, so just as I am back, I noticed I can be the 200th registrant which was a good spot to catch :)

The organizers plan for 400 attendees, so 200 registrants a month and a half early seems to be quite fine. The registration is wide open, and session proposals are also accepted. Seems like I'll be involved with at least the following sessions if all end up in the final program:

  • Multilingual Drupal: A big session about how you can make your site multilingual (with both core and contrib functionality) and what changed in Drupal 6. This fits into a pair of session spots with a break, as there are lots of stuff to talk about. I'll co-present this with Jose A Reyero and Ian Ward.
  • Translating Drupal (the new way), where I'll present the results of my Google Summer of Code work: a web based translation system for Drupal project translations; as well as show best practices on how one can make his theme or module translatable.
  • Drupal SoC Showcase, where I'll present a small intro to what I have done and direct listeners to the full featured presentation. There were lots of summer of code projects and so short time to fit all into one session.

Let's make sure that we can meet in Barcelona: register yourself for the conference, if you have not done already, and vote for the above sessions to make the final list.

Localization server project in the works

Dear Drupal interface translators!

Your valuable work helps Drupal to actual world domination, so we try to support you all ways possible to be able to more efficiently organize your time to translate Drupal projects (the Drupal core system itself, as well as contributed modules, themes and install profiles).

There are big changes planned and in development for Drupal project translations. Make sure to read my Drupal Groups post if you are a Drupal translator or you would like to become one, but the current toolset scares you.