Drupal World Domination session slides from Do It With Drupal

Just over a week ago, I've been in New Orleans to talk about multilingual Drupal website building at the Do It With Drupal event organized by Lullabot. I've been happy to join fellow Acquians for a short time at the office and then at the Do It With Drupal seminar to represent the company. It was a fun experience to hook up with so many other people looking into using Drupal for the first time or even selling Drupal services already. It was a good mix, and was a very different target audience compared to Drupalcons. This event was more focused on the path seekers and the beginners with high detail and cross-discipline talks over four days. I've enjoyed several sessions, including Robert's session on Solr.

Unfortunately (for my enjoyment of the conference), my session was at one of the last slots, but it had a good turnout nonetheless. I've been prepared well in advance with a completely rethought line of thought (compared to previous, more developer focused events), and a slideshow done from the ground up. So despite talking about this topic before elsewhere, I needed to have a totally fresh look at the topic and present all the latest developments to date.

Since I do not have the permissions to upload my session to the website of the event, and the slides I sent in by email were not uploaded yet, I figured I'd better share them here with those eager to look into them soon. Happy holiday's reading if you are about to take time to learn more about multilingual Drupal solutions!

New Localization API guide, much better code reviews

This story started almost a year ago, when I published my cheat sheet for the Drupal 6 localization API. Although Drupal 6 was not ready at that time, the localization API was as stable that the cheat sheet is useful without modification even today.

My intention with the cheat sheet was to start a localization API guide on Drupal.org and get the intricate details of this API documented for the general good. Over the past few weeks, i've managed to have time to actually sit down and document best practices and tips for these functions, and published the Localization API guide as part of the Drupal.org developer handbook (it is worth to check out the printer friendly version for a quick glance). While some parts of the guide are still under discussion and finalization (and I still plan two pages: one on emails and the other one on pointers for people looking to translate user provided data), the guide is pretty much complete as far as localizing the interface goes.

Another side of that old blog post of mine was new Translation template extractor support for the coder module. Well, that was basically tapping the existing errors into coder and make you figure out the rest. The existing error messages in extractor were however quite cryptic, like Invalid marker: t($joe). This is not really helpful in finding out what is the issue at hand, when you are not familiar with the finer details. This was unhelpful for both module authors and code reviewers, who were eager to fix these problems. I got several support requests in the extractor issue queue to clarify guidelines. So updating the error messages was clearly in order.

The result of these two efforts is that the latest development version of the extractor on the 6.x-2.x branch (update from CVS or wait for today's tarball to materialize) now supports nicely understandable error messages for coder module (and way better error messages for its standalone mode just as well) with links to the actual documentation explaining the underlying causes and details. This will hopefully end up in a new release very soon.

So do you have any excuses left to not write nicely translatable Drupal module interfaces?

Share every single translation you create with the community, without extra effort

I am way behind in blogging about DrupalCon Boston 2008, which was truly a blast. It was the biggest and best organized Drupal conference so far, and was put together in record time. I was happy to come early to Boston and stay a bit more with people who had their flights cancelled, and others who simply live in Boston to tourist around the city as well.

The conference provided lots of opportunities to be productive on-site in the BoFs and on the code sprint which followed the conference. Honestly, I intended to work on some of my core modifications for filters which (unfortunately) are still not in patch form, but without network connection for a considerable time, I needed to look into what I have on my computer, and figured I should work on the top priority contrib issue in my projects, as identified at the BoFs. Read on to find out more.

DrupalCon Boston session and BoFs

It looks like the list of sessions for DrupalCon Boston is finalized, so I am happy to announce, that we are going to have a Multilanguage Drupal: a status report and a discussion session, which is going to cover the current state of Drupal 6 and a short overview of contributed modules, and should end up in a vibrant discussion on where Drupal 7 is headed as far as language support goes. There is a huge interest in multilingual support with around 20 modules hosted on drupal.org already. Come and discuss where Drupal is heading, Drupal 7 is in need of hands to advance in this area.

While most of what Drupal core lacks is user entered content translation and localization, and the above session will focus on this, I also added a BoF suggestion which deals with (built-in) interface localization exclusively. Localization tools for Drupal teams and users is expected to focus on tools like l10n_client and l10n_server and related technologies.

In my working hours, I am busy with better support for WYSIWYG editors in Drupal 7 these days, so I am co-hosting a working group BoF with Doug Green titled WYSIWYG Working Group for 7.x core which should be a discussion of proposals on fixing current WYSIWYG integration problems and weaknesses.

At last but not least, Kristof Van Tomme is proposing Szeged, Hungary for DrupalCon Europe 2008, and he intends to hold a discussion BoF on this. The Drupal Association also intends to have a discussion meeting (not open for the public) on the next DrupalCon, so whether this BoF happens is still to be seen. In any case, I am one of the firm supporters of a DrupalCon in Szeged, and I am confident Kristof would be able to lead effectively to get it done in good quality. The easily digestable version of the proposal is up at Proposing Szeged, Hungary for Drupalcon Europe 2008 (look for the attached PDF).

And, well, honestly this is all just peanuts to what all DrupalCon Boston has to offer. So if you are still wondering, whether to go or not to go, make sure you reserve your place! It's a must.

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.