CMS Evaluation for Multilingual Documentation Maintenance

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This page is intended to collect and discuss requirements, processes, and tools to implement a content management framework that allows maintenance of multilingual documentation. The goal is to find a way to intelligently create, update, localize, and publish documentation in multiple languages. We are in agreement, that the current Mediawiki-based solution, while having unbeatably low barrier to contribution, lacks basic content management functions required to maintain documentation in multiple languages, and publish documentation that went through review and quality assurance cycles.


Enter requirements that a content management framework should meet. Think problem, not solution.

Requirement Priority Notes
Usability: easy of use and unambiguousness for end users
  • search confined to one language (eventually with optional search in several different languages)
  • clearcut content (e.g. "user help & program documentation"), not intermingled with project related stuff (like in the services-wiki)
Highest ;-) if the intended target audience for the tool is the end user (if not, cancel this req!)
Easy translation process: with one mouseclick to template for translation
The translation is reached by a flag-language-changer.
Very high
Different documentation formats: Different mimetypes are allowed to up- and download.
ODF-Files and PDF-Files are displayed inside the framework without converting.
Very high ;-) See and read online, what you could get :-)
Workflow management: Different areas of documentation types: from lower proof of quality to high proof (with workflow).
Management of rights for every object inside the framework (directory, file etc.)
Very high ;-) Like in OOoAuthors we also need documentation with high quality ;-)
Not finished documents unpublished: Documentation, which are in work and not finished could hold status private. high Work could be saved on the server (also it is not fished and ready for publishing)
Dynamic navigation bar: A dynamic and quick to use navigation bar to navigate in the structure. Easy change to another language (with language changer / flag) high
Different skins /views for anonymous visitors and contributors: An anonymous visitor needs only displayed content. A contributor needs a framework with tools (for editing etc.) high
Modularity: Being able to aggregate content modules in different documentation types high
Automatic output to PDF/ODF: for post-processing, for example hardcopy publishing, bundling medium
API for automated content processing: for implementing bot-based changes, accessing content from outside and feed them into other (publication) processes medium
Extensible: for being able to extend the framework with additional functionality (for example, thru plugin technology) medium
Controlled access: Making sure that access rights can be controlled. Users must agree to Terms of Use and sign Contributor Agreement. high

Tools to Evaluate

Tool Description/URL Pros Cons
Plone CMS built on top of Zope, e.g., very low entry threshold;
dynamic navigation;
tools for editing like wordprocessor;
multilingual support right out of the box;
external editor posible;
many extensions (products) available;
ODF files support (also preview inside the cms)
Too easy to install and configure;
too safe ;-)
Mediawiki with Extensions supposed lowest entry threshold;
best suited for setting up a "quick and dirty pilot environment"
(e.g. for trying out workflows)
not well suited to implement specific behavior
(e.g. automatized workflows)
Drupal Very popular CMS: Rich in multilingual and translation support
Very widely used, so familiar to users
Personal tools