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Help and advice about the Language select list on the Document Properties page of the MKDoc 1.0 editor interface.

There is a Multilingual Features page that gives an overview of how MKDoc allows web sites to be created in multiple languages. For more detailed information please read this document.

To specify a document Language simply select it from the list in the select box in the Mandatory Metadata section of the Document Properties page.

New documents inherit their initial Language from their parent document.

How MKDoc represents the Language of Documents

MKDoc indicates the language of document in a variety of ways.

HTTP Headers

The Language of the document is added to the documents HTTP 1.1 headers. This is the most important place it is used since HTTP is a higher level protocol than any HTML specification(s). For further information see the HTTP 1.1 Request for Comments.

This is what the Language HTTP header looks like for this page:

Content-Language: en-gb


MKDoc uses the Language of the document within the document, exactly how this is done depends on which HTML version the template uses. This is how the Language of this document is represented (the template for this page has been written to comply with XHTML 1.1):

<html xml:lang="en-gb" 

If the template used XHTML 1.0 then the lang attribute could also be used for backwards compatability with HTML, like this:

<html lang="en-gb"

MKDoc also marks the language of all generated links to documents using the hreflang attribute. For example, links in the breadcrumb trail, the sitemap or the search page. This is how a link to this document has the Language represented:

<a href="" 

For more information about the uses of the lang (used in HTML and XHTML 1.0) and xml:lang (used in XHTML 1.0, 1.1 and XML) see the language information in the HTML 4.01 specification.

Language is also used by the DC RDF metadata file for this document, like this:

    <rdfs:label>English (United Kingdom)</rdfs:label>

Template selection

If the document template has a version that has been translated into the Language that you have selected then your document will automatically be formatted with the correct Language template.

If there is no template in the selected Language then the default Language, English, will be used.

To create a template translation simply take the existing version (which is probably in English and is so called en.html) and copy it using the two letter country code for the files name (for example fr.html for a French version).

You need access to the file system of the server which is running MKDoc to add and edit templates. This is not something that can be done via the editors web interface.

MKDoc also has support for the editors interface to be used in multiple languages. However, no translations of the editor interface templates are available at the time of writing. These will be undertaken as soon as there is demand for languages other than English.

Adding and removing Language options

The options in the Language select list are complied from a MKDoc configuration file. If you want to change the languages listed you will need access to the file system of the server which is running MKDoc, this cannot be done via the editors web interface.

The Language config file is in the config directory and is called flo.plugin.explorer.Admin_LANG. Languages can be added and removed simply by commenting and uncommenting lines (a line that is a comment starts with a #). This is an snippet of the file:

# cs          Czech
# da          Danish
nl          Dutch
# nl-be       Dutch (Belgium)
# nl-nl       Dutch (Netherlands)
en          English
# en-au       English (Australia)
# en-bz       English (Belize)
# en-ca       English (Canada)
# en-ie       English (Ireland)

MKDoc uses RFC 1776 for the list of languages, as recomended by the comments associated with the Dublin Core Language element:

Recommended best practice for the values of the Language element is defined by RFC 1766 which includes a two-letter Language Code (taken from the ISO 639 standard), followed optionally, by a two-letter Country Code (taken from the ISO 3166 standard). For example, 'en' for English, 'fr' for French, or 'en-uk' for English used in the United Kingdom.

Character Set limitations

MKDoc versions 1.0 to 1.2 are, by default, set up to support ISO-8859-1 (Latin-1) character set. Although you can direct MKDoc to use a different Latin character set, these versions does not support UTF-8.

The Latin character set covers all major European languages, see The ISO 8859 Alphabet Soup, for detailed information on this. If you want to know which language requires which character set the Letter Database is a good online tool.

For more information about character sets the Webreference HTML Character Reference is a good place to start. If you just want a list of character entities that you can use please see XHTML Character Entities in the XHTML modularization Recommendation.

Specifying the Character Set

MKDoc lets web browsers know what character set is being used by putting this information in the HTTP headers, like this:

Content-Type: text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1

Specifing the character set in the HTTP headers takes precedence over any character set specifed in a web page.

Because of backwards compatability problems with the way that character sets are represented in XHTML documents MKDoc does not specify the character set in HTML/XHTML documents.

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This document was last modified by Chris Croome on 2002-02-20 14:05:44
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