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Re: Multilingual Web Site Architecture

From: Anders Bandholm <Anders.Bandholm@uni-c.dk>
Date: Mon, 6 Dec 1999 13:20:10 +0100
Message-ID: <012101bf3fe4$4067c8a0$700ce482@DHCP.uni-c.dk>
To: "Anders Bandholm" <Anders.Bandholm@uni-c.dk>, "Suzanne Topping" <stopping@rochester.rr.com>, "www" <www-international@w3.org>, "i18n" <i18n-prog@acoin.com>, "nelocsig" <nelocsig@egroups.com>
In the post below I outlined a strategy that we have been using at the
European Schoolnet, ( http://www.eun.org )

It was a design criteria, that the architecture should not depend on any
special Apache features, and therefore the construction of the "static
language sites" was done in a batch process outside of Apache.

If you are prepared to use Apache and mod_perl on the job you can do some
very interesting optimisations on the described strategy:

 * using the Apache ErrorDocument directive we have created a script that is
called whenever a "404 Object not found" occurs. This script figures out if
the file really does not exist, or if it is just a missing link ( :-) - if
it is just a symbolic link missing, it adds it.

 * using mod_perl you can play a trick: When the user access a static
language site (e.g. www.fr.eun.org) a "PerlInitHandler" inserts a phony
"Accept-Language" header into the request. This simple trick does exactly
the same as the symbolic link strategy - but dynamically!

The trick with mod_perl is amazing in the sense that all the code we wrote
for builiding and maintaining the symbolic links can be replaced with a few
(5-10!) lines of perl code - and as an added benefit this means that the
language sites or always up to date: If a new translation of some pages is
added to the site, it is immidiately active on the relevant fixed language
sites as well...

To summarise, our architechture allows us to:

  * have content available in any number of languages

  * allow the user to choose a "site" that offers content negotiation

  * for the benefit of users that can't (or don't want to) use content
negotiation offer "sites" with fixed languages (or more precisely: fixed
language priorities)

-----Original Message-----
From: Anders Bandholm <Anders.Bandholm@uni-c.dk>
To: Suzanne Topping <stopping@rochester.rr.com>; www
<www-international@w3.org>; i18n <i18n-prog@acoin.com>; nelocsig
Date: Thursday, November 11, 1999 9:33 PM
Subject: Re: Multilingual Web Site Architecture

>The EUN (European Schoolnet, http://www.eun.org) has a language
>based on Apaches capabilities in "Content Negotiation", but as a supplement
>a set of "static language sites" are built for each language.
>(www.en.eun.org, www.fr.eun.org, etc.) As a result, users can have their
>browser select the language, or they can select a fixed language.
>The fixed language sites are built by copying the directory structure of
>main site, and creating symbolic links to the relevant files. This process
>is done by a batch job (takes a few minutes) that essentially simulates the
>language prioritisation that a browser would have done.
>The architecture allows an individual file to exist in any number of
>languages, and still present the user with the most appropriate language
>Anders Bandholm, UNI-C, Aarhus
>  E-mail: Anders.Bandholm@uni-c.dk
>  Phone:  (+45) 8937-6645   Fax: (+45) 8937-6677    ICQ: 20617502
>  PGP: id=0x42691C89; fp=D7DF EF78 0C55 9E9B  C9EA 3D07 6500 A1BB
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Suzanne Topping <stopping@rochester.rr.com>
>To: www <www-international@w3.org>; i18n <i18n-prog@acoin.com>; Unicode
><unicode@unicode.org>; nelocsig <nelocsig@egroups.com>
>Date: Friday, November 05, 1999 4:52 PM
>Subject: Multilingual Web Site Architecture
>>I received the following question, based on comments that I sent
>>to a machine translation email list regarding web site localization
>>I am conducting.
>>Does anyone know if any work has been done in this area? Are there
>>repositories of templates or models?
>>Thank you.
>>>What I am working on now is to define an ARCHITECTURE for multilingual
>>>web sites. These sites will be designed for different purposes:
>>>informational, e-commerce, information retrieval and extraction, etc.
>>>Do you have please any information about multilingual web sites
>>>architectures ? Generic models, examples, articles, companies
>>>proposing such architectures, etc.
>>Suzanne Topping
>>Localization Unlimited
>>(Globalization Process Improvement Consulting and Training)
>>28 Ericsson Street
>>Rochester, New York, 14610-1705
>>Phone: 716-473-0791
>>Fax: 716-231-2013
>>Email: stopping@rochester.rr.com
>>(Send me an email to join the North East Localization Special Interest
>>Group, an email distribution list which acts as a discussion forum for
>>localization issues.)
Received on Monday, 6 December 1999 07:18:29 UTC

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