Website Content Localization with EPiServer 7
May 23, 2013
EPiServer CMS is a robust Content Management System that provides a high level of accessibility and usability over the content in different formats and over different platforms. EPiServer CMS 7 was recently released and introduced the new development approach Single-Page-Application (SPA) which gives the user a better experience while displaying or manipulating content. Furthermore EPiServer 7 includes built-in functionality and features to be used from other devises such as iPad not only to display content but also to manage it.
Internationalization and localization become much more critical for a multilingual enterprise application developed over EPiServer CMS 7 due to the wide set of features and accessibility provided. The availability to display the content in different devices such as Desktop computer, Mobile, and iPad added more challenges in terms of selecting the correct approach to localize the content based on the selected device. Screen resolution, device type, memory capacity, Operating System version. These items should be considered when internationalizing and localizing an application based on EPiServer CMS 7.
New Localization Service API
EPiServer CMS 7 provides new Localization Service API that does not replace the old Localization Manager used in version 6 but represent a wider level of control over the localization process. The new API helps keeping the localization process easy and facilitates the pseudo translation tests. It is based on 2 main items:
1- Localization service is a component used to retrieve the localized content based on the current language.
2- Localization providers are components used in the background to retrieve localized resource from System. Custom providers are allowed if needed and can be added to the web.config or using the API.
The new localization features exist under EPiServer.Framework.Localization.LocalizationService class. The old Language Manager class is currently marked as obsolete.
Also another change, The System localizations shipped with Episerver CMS 7 is no more present as xml files under Lang folder but currently embedded in the assemblies. To override or change the languages files, we can create a custom xml files and save them under "Lang" folder. This workaround is similar to the CMS 6 process to change the built-in languages xml files.
EPiServer new component "BLOCKS"
Besides the Page type, EPiServer introduces Block type to facilitate the reusability of certain functionalities by developers and web editors and use the power of Model View Controller (MVC). In order to localize the Block types, the translations should be kept in a predefined structure ( /language/blocktypes/blocktype) in order to be recognized by EPiSErver CMS 7.
Blocks are commonly used to reuse and share content and can be added in a few steps to web applications as following:
1- Select a page
2- Select Block
3- Drag and drop to the web page
Content QA improvements
Among many User Interface improvements, the editing and preview in the same screen enhance the Content QA and editing. Now the editor can insert / edit content and preview at the same time the changes without switching between both modes Preview and Edit.
In Edit mode when the Editor selects a content area, he can edit the content in the right side (Next print screen) and preview at the same time the changes in the left side. This is a great feature for QA process to handle many display issues such as: some translated content does not display the characters correctly in display mode, right to left alignment for some languages like Arabic, Content length, etc…
Another useful feature is the instant editing notification. While an editor is reviewing / editing content for a page, that page is noted in the pages' tree as being edited at the moment. This feature will help a lot to avoid conflicts between team editors and save the content integrity. This feature is automated and once the editor leaves the page the notification will be removed. For sure this feature can be adjusted from administration for a different set of options.
For sure EPiServer 7 provides a set of powerful new features and makes it easy to edit, publish and display content using different devices. GPI has extensive experience using EPiServer including version 7. We have experience in preparing EPiServer to serve up multilingual website translations and leverage core functionality out of the box or as enhanced with GPI's Website Translation Services Connector. GPI's Translation Services Connector is a light but very strong tool that makes exporting and importing content very easy with just a few clicks.
Further GPI Resources on EPiServer Website Translation and Development
GPI has previously localized and published several EPiServer web applications and presented detailed presentations and case studies about CMS and scalable website development. You may find the following references about website localization, globalization, development and EPiServer Localization useful:
- Deploying a Multilingual Website with EPiServer (Part 1)
- Deploying a Multilingual Website with EPiServer (Part 2)
- Localization with EPiServer CMS Part 1
- Localization with EPiServer CMS Part 2
- EPiServer Website Translation
- Website Translation and Localization Services
- EPiServer CMS Website Translation Connector
Further Information on Localization Resources
Globalization Partners International (GPI) frequently assists customers with multilingual website design, development and deployment. GPI's suite of globalization tools can empower global companies to achieve their multilingual project goals. To learn more please visit Translation Tools. GPI also offers a range of Translation services so consider partnering with GPI prior to localizing or translating your documents, websites or applications.
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Ayman El Badawy - Manager, Technical Delivery - Global Software Practice