Friday, May 20, 2011

Multilingual support in Drupal 8

While English is the lingua franca for business these days, only about five percent of the world's population speaks it as their first language, and more than 70 percent doesn't speak it at all. Even in Europe, where English is widely known, people value tools in their own language. I saw this first hand a few weeks ago when I was there to give some presentations about Drupal. Most of the questions I got were about localization (l10n) and internationalization (i18n). Language is both an accessibility issue and a user experience issue; strength in this area is crucial to Drupal's success. That's why I decided to make multilingual access an official initiative for Drupal 8, with Gábor Hojtsy as its Initiative Owner.

We've already come a long way with i18n and l10n in Drupal 7, but I know we can do much better. Creating Drupal sites in multiple languages still requires too many contributed modules, and the interface isn't intuitive enough. My dream is that Drupal becomes the indisputable choice for anyone who wants to build a multilingual site. With Gábor in charge, I have confidence we'll make another giant step forward with Drupal 8.

Experienced Drupalists will immediately recognize Gábor as a prolific developer on both Drupal's core and the 70-plus modules he's worked on since joining the Drupal community eight years ago. He is my co-maintainer for Drupal 6, a contributor to Drupal 7 with a focus on issues of internationalization and localization, a driving force behind and more. In short, Gábor is a big reason Drupal's multilanguage features are already incredibly robust, and I'm very pleased that he's agreed to continue this work.

Gábor's involvement brings the number of active Drupal 8 initiatives to four, joining Jeff Burnz (design), Greg Dunlap and David Strauss (configuration management), and Larry Garfield (web services). They all have outstanding Drupal résumes, and they're already doing great work to guide and focus the community's efforts to make Drupal 8 amazing.

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