Location: PHPKode > scripts > BabelKit > babelkit/bk_overview.html
<title>BabelKit Overview</title>
<link rel="STYLESHEET" type="text/css" href="main.css">

  Copyright (C) 2003 John Gorman <hide@address.com>

<body bgcolor="#F0FFFF" text="#000000"
      link="#873852" vlink="#873852" alink="#B52E2E">

<table width="600">

<div align="right">
[<a href="bk_update.html">Code Table Updates</a>]
[<a href="index.html">Index</a>]
[<a href="bk_schema.html">Code Table Setup</a>]

<a href="http://www.webbysoft.com/babelkit">BabelKit</a>

BabelKit is an interface to a universal multilingual database code table.
BabelKit takes all of the programming work out of maintaining
multiple database code definition sets in multiple languages.

The code administration and translation page lets you define
new virtual code tables, new languages, enter all codes
and their descriptions and then translate them into all
languages of interest.

Perl and PHP classes retrieve the code descriptions
and automatically generate HTML code selection elements
in the user's language.  This makes internationalization
and localization of web sites and database interfaces
much easier.

<h4>Traditional Code Set Implementations</h4>

Code sets are an important part of any database.
They define the choices available for codified fields
and supply the human readable descriptions for display purposes. 

Code sets are usually implemented as database tables,
one physical database table for each set of codes.

Each database table typically needs an administration
data entry page to allow for code set entry and upkeep.
Also, each use of each code set requires similar
but slightly different SQL and application code,
an opportunity for bugs to slip into the applications.

Multilingual code sets are even more work for the
programmer than unilingual code sets due to the
complexity of storing and retrieving multiple code
descriptions for each code, one for each language
of interest.

<h4>Universal Multilingual Code Table</h4>

A universal code table replaces all of the traditional individual
database code tables with a single database table which
is structured to hold all of the code sets in the
entire database.

This saves a <b>lot</b> of programmer work in setting up
the tables and eliminates the need to write multiple
code set administration data entry pages.  BabelKit
provides code administration and translation utilities
written in both PHP and Perl.

A single database table makes it easy to write an
API for each language of interest to perform common
operations such as looking up a code description
or displaying code choices to the user.  BabelKit
currently provides APIs for PHP and Perl.

<h4>Native Language Fallback</h4>

The task of maintaining codes and keeping all
of the code description translations up to date
in all of the languages of interest is not
always complete at any given moment.

As a fallback, BabelKit implements the concept
of a 'native language'.  A code value becomes
defined when the native language description is
first entered.  If the code description for
another language of interest is not yet available
the native language version is displayed instead.

<h4>Code Set Display Order</h4>

It is often necessary to specify the order in
which code set choices are displayed to the user.

BabelKit has a numeric code order field associated
with each code value.  The sort is first by code order
numerically, then by code value lexicographically.

The code order field can be specified at data entry time.
If the order field is not specified and the code value
is numeric then that numeric value is used as the
code order value.  This keeps numeric code values
sorted numerically by default.

<h4>Deprecated Codes</h4>

Sometimes codified choices go out of date and are
no longer available for user selection.  Simply
removing an obsolete code from the code set creates a
problem when it comes time to display the code
descriptions for obsolete code values which are still
in the database.

The solution is to mark obsolete codes as deprecated
without removing them from the code set.
This leaves the obsolete code descriptions
in the code set for display purposes, but does
not allow new data entry selection of deprecated
code choices.  BabelKit fully supports deprecated codes.

<h4>Phrase and Paragraph User Interface Translation</h4>

If you have a multilingual web site or user interface
which needs to display pieces of text in various
languages BabelKit can help with the translation
and retrieval of multilingual phrases and paragraphs.

One approach is to create a code set called 'phrase'
and another called 'paragraph'.  The phase set
is used for one line words and phrases.
The paragraph set can hold multiline paragraphs
or pages of text.  Check the 'Multiline Set' box
when creating the paragraph set.

For software modularity it helps to use code values which
are a combination of the module using the phrase
or paragraph and a short name such as 'member-accepted'
and 'credit-disclaimer'.  That way you will know
exactly which modules will be affected by a change
in phrasing.  Some phrases may be so universal as
to be invariant, so those can be shared between
modules as in 'shared-hello'.

<h4>Translation Slave Sets</h4>

BabelKit can be used to make a unilingual database
field look multilingual with very little work.
For example, you may already have a table of city
records, with a single native language city name field.

To make city names appear multilingual, create a code set
called 'city' and check the 'Slave Set' box.
The codes for the city code set match
the city record identifiers, such as 185 or 221.

Whenever a city is added or updated call the slave method:

$babelkit-&gt;slave('city', $city_id, $city_name);

Use the BabelKit Translation Utility to translate
the city names into the languages of interest.
When it comes time to display a city name, call
up the correct city name translation like this:

print $babelkit-&gt;desc('city', $lang, $city_id);

<h4>Parameter Sets</h4>

It is often a good idea to keep any application parameters
separate from the application code so that they can
be changed without source code changes.  Parameter
sets are a excellent way to accomplish this.
Parameter sets are stored in the native language
only and are not translated.  Use the param()
method to get the data.

For example if we have a currency conversion application,
we can store the currency conversion rates as a
BabelKit code set.  Create a code set called 'currencyrate'
and check the 'Parameter Set' box.  This marks the
currencyrate code set as pure data and will not present it for
translation in the BabelKit Translation Utility.
Data entry is done in the native language only.

<div align="right">
[<a href="bk_update.html">Code Table Updates</a>]
[<a href="index.html">Index</a>]
[<a href="bk_schema.html">Code Table Setup</a>]


Return current item: BabelKit