CMS Evaluation for Multilingual Documentation Maintenance

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Purpose of this page

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.

Open Questions

  1. Will the CMS also be used as publication platform for users?




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

Requirement Description Examples
Access Control Availability of customizable user group access levels, document based, document-type based, or document-status based
Multi-Language Access GUI must be available in multiple languages, switching between document languages
Localization Allow for localization of documents, availability of glossary, terminology, translation memory, or interface to external localization tools and formats
Document Workflow Document creation and maintenance must take place inside a customizable work flow including steps to create, edit, review, publish, and archive documents in multiple languages
Document Publication Ability to publish documents internally and to different sites in different formats (ODF, PDF, HTML)
Extensability Framework to add extensions that provide special services, availability of vibrant extension development community
API for programmatic access Ability to automate tasks like mass-changes to documents using API access
Metrics Ability to measure access and usage metrics
ODF support Support of ODF documents, metadata evaluation, search in ODF, ODF diffs, plugging of OOo instances
WYSIWYG support Support of WYSIWYG editor for non-ODF content
Document Versioning Version control of documents, ability to recover/rollback old versions, milestones, creating release tags across different documents/languages
Document Rating Rating of documents by readers (only required if CMS will also be the publication framework)
Comments Add comments to documents by readers (only required if CMS will also be the publication framework)
Ease of Use
Registration with click-through agreement New users of the framework may need to agree to Terms of Use
License maintenance Ability to attach different licenses to different content pieces. Ability to track license usage and mixing of licenses in aggregated content.
Content aggregation Ability to aggregate content modules to different documentation types.

Tools to Evaluate

See also the Wikipedia list of CMSs

Tool Description 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)
Mediawiki with Extensions
  • supposed lowest entry threshold
  • best suited for setting up a "quick and dirty pilot environment" (e.g. for trying out workflows)
  • very large estension base
  • existing implementation
  • 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
Alfresco Alfresco is the Open Source Alternative for Enterprise Content Management (ECM), providing Document Management, Collaboration, Records Management, Knowledge Management, Web Content Management and Imaging.
  • sophisticated, enterprise-level CMS
  • ODF integration
Learning curve?
Daisy Daisy is a content management system that offers rich out-of-the-box functionality combined with solid foundations for extensibility and integration. Daisy consists of two main components:
  • a stand-alone repository server accessible through HTTP/XML (using the ReST style of WebServices) and/or a high-level (remote) Java API, and
  • an extensive editing and publishing front-end web application running inside Apache Cocoon.

(copied from the Daisy website)

  • WYSIWYG editing
  • Document inclusions
  • PDF publishing of single pages or collections of pages as a book
Personal tools