The online language revolution

Configuration

Q: How long does it take to implement LinguaSkin?

A: This depends on the scale and scope of the target application. A basic configuration can often be done in half a day, but can take longer if there are a large number of pages/forms to configure. A reverse proxy configuration can take another half day to define the proxy mapping rules.

So, a fairly static content website is typically configured in under a day. A larger scale and more complex application can take up to 2 – 3 days.

The translation of the user interface text to be replaced then needs to be performed, but the configuration will work for all languages (with the exception of Right-to-Left languages, where some additional configuration will be needed).

The significant time and cost savings over other localisation methods are that the target application/site does not require any changes at all.

Q: Does Interceptor Solutions need to do the implementation, or can we do it?

A: The tools that we use to perform the configuration are all available through the Management Centre. We can provide technical user guides, provide training and support to customers that want to perform their own configuration.

However, given the relatively short project time required to implement (and hence low cost), most customers elect to use our configuration services. Where a customer has a larger portfolio (i.e. 5+) applications for which they intend to use LinguaSkin, it is more common for us to configure the first application and then train and support internal resources for the remainder.

Why LinguSkin is Different

Q: Are any changes required to the target application?

A: No. LinguaSkin fully wraps and insulates the target application. It intercepts and transforms all aspects of the HTTP requests and responses to the application, thereby ensuring that the target application sees exactly the same interface it expects, and renders just the monolingual pages it normally does.

Q: Why is this different to Proxy Localisation tools?

A: There are similarities to Proxy Localisation, but also significant differences. These come from our different perspective – LinguaSkin addresses the software architecture issues around localisation, instead of just extending translation tools to include web content.

  • LinguaSkin is independent of any translation tool platform. You’re not tied into any vendor, it works whether you have a translation tool or not;
  • The LinguaSkin Intercept Engine deploys to the web server. You install it on your web server. So, not only do you have full operational control, but LinguaSkin will also work in secure and Intranet/internal environments where public Internet access is restricted or may not be available;
  • It works with applications. Proxy Localisation methods can work well with web content, but cannot work with applications where session management, script and content types beyond html/css are involved. LinguaSkin was designed from the ground up to handle this complexity.

Impact

Q: Is there an impact on Accessibility?

A: No. LinguaSkin only applies replacements and transforms that are configured. Accessibility will therefore not be unintentionally affected.

However, LinguaSkin is capable of applying replacements and transforms to any aspect of http content and so is often used to address issues and improve accessibility.

Q: Does LinguaSkin work with a Responsive design?

A: Yes. As for accessibility, LinguaSkin only makes those replacements and transforms that have been configured. It will not therefore impact on any other aspect of the http content.

Q: When a user switches language, will any session or context (e.g. logged in state) be lost?

A: No. A user will remain on the same page/form when a language switch takes place and no session context will be lost. Depending on the type of language selector used (LinguaSkin can use either a Get or Post selector), it’s even possible to retain data that has been entered into a form and not saved.

Language Availability and Selection

Q: How many languages can LinguaSkin support?

A: As many as you like. There is no technical limitation, and the language selector can be designed as a list of links, a dropdown, or any other type of html/css control.

Q: Does LinguaSkin support Right-to-Left (RTL) languages?

A: Yes. This can simply be the rendering of right-to-left text, or can include the extraction and movement of areas of the user interface so that is also rearranged. However, to move UI areas around (e.g. moving a left hand menu to be on the right) can take a while longer to configure as you will need to have a clear definition of the resulting UI designed in order to be able to specify the transforms.

Q: Is it possible to have an implicit/default language selection take place based on the URL used?

A: Yes, when a site is first accessed LinguaSkin will use the more recent language selection made which will have been stored in a cookie (if the user has cookies enabled). If no such selection exists, the default language can be set by the url used or browser locale. The precedence of these can be configured.

Q: Can we use external links that will automatically select a language?

A: Yes. LinguaSkin provides a variety of means to determine the language. This includes a query string value so that external links into an application/site using LinguaSkin can determine the initial language to be displayed.

Technical Implementation

Q: What web server platforms does LinguaSkin work with?

A: The LinguaSkin Intercept Engine will work with sites/applications hosted by any server. The native deployment is on Microsoft IIS (v7.0 or later), so a target site/application on this platform has the advantage of a slightly simpler deployment. For other web server platforms, a Reverse Proxy from an IIS Proxy site is used.

Q: What content types can LinguaSkin handle?

A: LinguaSkin can handle all content types that can be decoded so that they can be parsed and replaced.

At present, these include all text based content types, e.g. html, css, javascript, xml, json, etc. Html also has a scraper that automatically extracts candidate strings, other formats can be manually configured with replacements & transforms.

Prototype decoder/parsers exist for Flash and PDF. These and further decoders/parsers are planned as the product evolves.

Q: Is LinguaSkin secure?

A: The LinguaSkin Intercept Engine sits within the security context of the IIS web server and therefore has the same security configuration as that applied to the web server.

Q: Does LinguaSkin work with SSL connections?

A: Yes. When deployed inline, SSL is a consideration for the overall site/application and the LinguaSkin Intercept Engine operates within this.

When deployed as a Reverse Proxy, the LinguaSkin Intercept Engine will work on both http and https connections to the target site (just the same as a browser would). For the interface to the browser, the proxy site can be configured with an SSL certificate, i.e. the Proxy site then acts as an ‘SSL Bridge’ in the same way as is common for many Proxies and firewalls.

Q: Does LinguaSkin work with SaaS/Cloud/Externally hosted applications?

A: Yes. The Reverse Proxy configuration was designed to handle this situation.

Q: Does LinguaSkin adversely impact on performance?

A: As with any software solution, LinguaSkin has a performance footprint. However, it has been carefully designed to have minimal memory requirements and with a set of replacement algorithms that can be refined to maximise performance.

In short, modern web servers consist of dozens of http modules, the LinguaSkin Intercept Engine is one of these with the direct performance impact of LinguaSkin negligible alongside the rest of the activities that the web server and underlying site/application will be performing.

Care has been taken for as much complexity as possible to be handled by the Management Centre so that the Intercept Engine processing can be optimised.

Q: Where is LinguaSkin deployed?

A: The LinguaSkin Intercept Engine is deployed as a custom http module either on the web server for the target site/application (Inline deployment) or on a Proxy site (Reverse Proxy deployment).

In either case, this will be on a web server owned and controlled by the customer. ISL do not offer hosting services for LinguaSkin and therefore there is no operational dependency on any infrastructure outside of the control of the customer (the Management Centre is for configuration only and is not integrated into the site/application processing).

Q: Will LinguaSkin work inside a secure Intranet?

A: Yes. The LinguaSkin Intercept Engine can be deployed wherever the web server resides.

Where there is no access to the Internet, the online configuration facility between the Intercept Engine and Management Centre cannot be used, with configuration files needing to be downloaded from the Management Centre and copied to the Intercept Engine. As all files are XML and all configuration is in clear text, this configuration can be audited.

Q: Where is the LinguaSkin Management Centre hosted?

A: On Microsoft Azure, in the ‘West Europe’ region.

Q: Will LinguaSkin work on a web farm?

A: Yes. As a web server module, the LinguaSkin Intercept Engine works within IIS just as any other server module. LinguaSkin doesn’t hold any context and there are no local data stores that are required to maintain context.

The LinguaSkin Intercept Engine and its configuration files will need to be deployed to every IIS server configured for the application/site. Other than that, there’s no other considerations that will limit its use on a web farm or load-balanced site.

© Interceptor Solutions Ltd 2017, LinguaSkin® patent pending: GB 1405190.8. Interceptor Solutions®, LinguaSkin®and the logo are registered trademarks of Interceptor Solutions Ltd.