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Multilingual Sites

MCMS 2002 allows you to develop multilingual sites to support the needs of your users. All languages that support the Unicode standard are supported in MCMS. To create a multilingual site, start by building the templates, channels, and pages for the primary language supported by the site. This work provides the site structure.

The second step is to translate resources used in your templates to the second target language. You do not want to have a Spanish site that uses images with English captions, nor a Lithuanian site with Russian page elements.

Next, create templates using the translated resources to map content from one language to another. MCMS uses a feature called connected pages that lets you link two or more pages that reference the same content source and use related templates. Therefore you could end up with an English press release template and connected Spanish and French pages.

One Template or Many?

Defining templates is the most challenging and time-consuming step in implementing a CMS. Programming, functional requirements, and graphic design converge here, often creating a long approval process or frequent revision. Nearly all web designers have experienced the phenomenon of five department representatives having six opinions on the color, font, or layout of a page.

Inexperienced CMS users are often tempted to allow templates to proliferate so each nook and cranny of the portal uses a different template. For instance, separate templates might be built for FAQs, articles, press releases, and product announcements.

Fight this instinct to create new templates and ask yourself whether a generic template might not be suitable in more than one section. Template discipline significantly reduces the maintenance burden of the site. The big payoff comes when users decide to change the colors, layout, and general appearance of the site. The fewer the number of templates you have, the quicker such changes, which are usually requested about one week before the site is scheduled to go into production, will be made.

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