Andrew Minton

stuff and things I see and do

Andrew Minton

Multi language CMS solutions


Ok so, being in Wales and building websites for clients, very often invloves the use of multilingual content and the eventual need for a multi language Content Manegement System to administer the multiple languages that they require.

I have been wracking my brain looking for a decent CMS that serves a lot of the needs of the Client as well as cater for the multi lingual aspects of the content. First of all. Druapl and Joomla are out, cos they are bloatware beyond believe. They are also so demanding in terms of the learning curve for Dev and user in my eyes that I rarely offer them as solutions to my clients unless they are currently using these CMS’ or demand to use them.. at that point I’m either not interested or go along with their demands, cos customers are always right.. right 🙂 ?

There are 3 CMS solutions that spring to mind in terms of ease of use and functionality that I would recommmend here and here are the pro’s are the pro’s and cons to all 3.

  • WordPress with Qtranslate plugin.

WordPress 3.0.1 is great. It offers a lot of freedom and an imense amount of customisation of recent releases. And 3.0.1 is no excpetion. While working on a site for, I was asked to scope out the building of a website for Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals fame. The site was going to have a Welsh and English section and also be capable of bloggin different content in English and Welsh. I spent a good week trawling through solutions like WPML, and multi lange pages. In the end I settled on a nice solution called Qtranslate. This provides tabbed instances of each language in Pages and Posts. It also allows multi language tags/categories and has a lot of customisation options for more than 2 languages. There is a lot of scope to hard code elements that don’t exist as multilingual into the templates you create.

See Gruff Rhys’ site in action with multi language content.

  • Symphony CMS

A great CMS platform for developers and my FAV at the moment. Symphony hasn’t natively supported Multi Lingual content out of the box and still struggles (On my installs anyway) to fully handle Complete management of All multi lingual content, without needing to hardcode certain elements of the install. 2 new plugins have been in develpment for a while, which might tilt this into the favour of the content creators with regards to ease of use:

One of the plugins is called Multi Language Support and it provides a multi lingual layer on top of Symphony itself.

The other plugin which I found to be working nicely in the back end, but didn’t fully handle Multi lingual page titles.. was : Multi Lingual field. This provides the best user centered friendly approach to the administration of multi lingual content. And the using the Language Re-Direct extension to switch the language content on the front end. Awaiting for some really talented Symphonian to pave the way for what Symphony call and Ensemble (A pre constructed set of Extensions and Core install) configured to specifications such as Multi Lingual.. to see how others would do it!

This CMS has been growing in popularity with me. It started life as a frustration of lack of decent CMS for a guy called Ted Kulp to administer his website easily, and he ended up writing his own framework based on not finding what he wanted. It has now grown into a thriving community with Developers all over the world, and a growing Creative following (me) for one. Version 1.8.2 had a branch from the Core install which was dubbed the MLE version.. simple name.. explains it all! This version adapted by a forum member called Alby (part of the development team). This solution was ideal and it integrated very well with pages. But as of 1.8.2 this FORK of the CORE application has been stopped in favour of a bridging solution until verison 2.2 on the Development Path. It’s a shame it hasn’t been brought in to the core, but a brave move to continue without it in favour of a module. Langops is the module that people seem to be pinning their hopes on and look forward to using it in the near future.

So as I wait for the LangOps module to be ready, I am leaning towards WordPress solution for my clients as I know it is stable and had been doployed on many a site. come on CMSMS lets have a nice integrated Multi Language solution soon 🙂 pleeeeeeeeaaasee..