2010 starting full speed

Moonos - an Englightenment Ubuntu based distro!I hope everybody had a great time over Christmas and the new year festivities. It’s not really my preferred time of the year for various reasons, but that doesn’t mean other people can’t enjoy ;-)! So I have been focusing my time and energy on Open Source stuff, namely RUR-PLE, some GNOME.Asia related stuff, Greenboard of course, our pilots in migrant schools and Software Freedom Day planning for 2010.
On top of those activities I will start blogging for ZDNet Asia about Linux and Open Source in China, most likely organize the Beijing chapter of the Global Ignite Week with O’Reilly and the cool guys from the Beijing LUG, while trying to get a Hackerspace started in Beijing with a few other enthusiasts from various communities (but mainly from the BLUG though for now).
And finally I am happily providing hosting space for two open source projects, the Phnom Penh LUG, a growing Linux community in Cambodia, and moonOS, a lightweight Ubuntu based distribution (using Enlightenment) started by a cool Cambodian guy with whom I chat almost daily nowadays as we’re working on other open source stuff together. I’ll probably come back to all of those but for sure it’s more than enough to keep me away from writing here…

Localizing HTML documents

Continuing my search into internationalizing and localizing the 48 lessons for RUR-PLE and asking all around I have raised a few very meaningful feedbacks from my community: it’s a lot of work to recode HTML pages and insert language tags, it also makes authoring a lot more complicated and not for everyone. Imagine a teacher wanting to add lesson No.49, he’ll have to understand the technique behind it and thus learning a bit of HTML is probably a lot easier. So what you gain from simplifying the work for translators is lost in hindering authoring.

Well actually NO! A big THANK YOU to Elly for pointing out this great Java application to me: OmegaT. OmegaT let you open XHTML, HTML, Microsoft Office 2007 XML, OpenOffice.org/StarOffice, XLIFF (Okapi), MediaWiki and plain text files and hides the code to the translator. Translators just see what needs to be translated, can use shared memory per project (you create projects inside the application) and thus avoids you to re-translate something you already translated, and export in the same format as the original document without touching the markup. I’ve tried with HTML and presentation files and wow it just works as it should. Great gain of time, no need to internationalize anything for your project (and mine) and anyone can now generate new lessons without having to worry about the translators.

This is also going to help me in my daily work, where I get presentation files in different languages all the time and spend hours editing them slide by slide. On top of that, this is Open Source Software (GPL) and cross platform (using Java). What else could you ask for? I just regret to have discovered it so late. đŸ˜‰

First stone to the edifice

RUR-PLEJust as I am talking about my new project, last weekend, Pockey and I have already localized a great educational application called RUR-PLE. RUR-PLE is an environment designed to help kids learn computer programming using the Python language. Teaching kids algorithm are without any doubts going to enhance their problem solving abilities, analytical skills and passion to create things out of nothing.

The whole process of localizing this application took half a day as the author, André Roberge, had already internationalized its software. So basically it was just a matter of installing PoEdit, finding the po files in the right directly and just providing the Chinese version.

There are 48 lessons (not all are online, but they come with the package) bundled with RUR-PLE which are in HTML format. Now those have not been internationalized and we have so far only localized the main pages and the documentation. I am therefore starting to dive into the process of HTML internationalizing and I have much to learn. From what Freeflying told me I had to look into XML and DocBook for that. At first sight it does appear fairly complicated, so if anyone has the time to give me a crash course on the ABC’s of HTML internationalization and localization, please feel free to contact me.

What you can remember of this article however is that to port something as useful as RUR-PLE only took one afternoon! So if you want to help and join our efforts do come and visit our group.