I have been developing multilingual sites using JoomFish since J1.0. Currently our J1.5 homepage is translated into 13 languages. I am not a professional developer, but an amateur who has built about half a dozen joomla sites for my own projects on J1.0, J1.5, J1.6 and now J1.7.
Currently FaLang is in Beta, which means there are issues (see below), but my testing during the last two days has been positive, and I will continue to use it.
ABOUT J1.7 CORE MULTI-LINGUAL SITES
The J1.7 core multi-lingual implementation is unsatisfactory because it basically means creating and maintaining a parallel web site for each language.
In J1.7 There are no connections between translated articles and the originals, which makes it difficult for editors to keep track of what is translated and what is not translated. It makes it difficult for readers because they cannot switch to another language without bouncing back to the main menu point or homepage (depending on how you set it up). This might mean that a user gets confused, and frustrated because they cannot find the content they want.
Although this system is workable for two or three languages, it becomes impossible to keep track of sites that are translated into a multitude of languages, so it is not an option for us.
WHY FALANG IS BETTER
joomfish/falang has an excellent multilingual management system that has developed over the years. Anyone who has used joomfish knows how easy it is to manage translations.
It stores the translations in a dedicated table, and this is the only logical (normalized) and scaleable way to store the data.
There are many great reviews of JoomFish, so I will not get into more detail, other than that this component is absolutely mission critical to the Joomla community, and it is fantastic that someone has taken up the torch.
The developer has been very quick in helping me (response time measured in hours) get the beta version up and running on our site.
His instructions are clear, and installation was easy for someone who knows a bit about joomla.
While installing it, we found conflicts with JoomSEF (Artio) and JCK editor. Neither crashed the system, but to get FaLang to work properly, I had to turn off JoomSEF and stop using JCK.
I am confident that these problems will be ironed out quickly. I remember when Joomfish was starting out for J1.0, they had a lot of conflict issues with the SEF modules, but together both teams sorted these out.
JoomSEF is still working on resolving issues with the J1.7 core multilingual implementation, and there are already forum threads on the Artio site about this, so I am confident that this issue will be resolved soon.
I love the JCK editor, and I expect this will be resolved too, but can live without it if need be.
FaLang is currently a stripped down version of JoomFish 2.1.7. It does the basics, but does not have a plugin API, or a statistics module. This is not a problem for us, as we have not used these in the past.
It is great news for the Joomla community that this critical component is now available for J1.7. Stéphane has been helpful, and I can recommend this component to anyone with a reasonable understanding of Joomla.
There are some problems, but because FaLang is currently in Beta, this is to be expected. The developer is enthusiastic, and I am looking forward to seeing the last problems being sorted out soon.
- a way to specify different default recipients for forms on different parts of the site.
- the translations work nicely, except for the form title, and the default message text. Could you make your form Joomfish compatible?
unfortunately because our site is multilingual, and rather complicated, I probably won't be able to use your component, even though I love it.