Using Drupal with Arabic And Other Right To Left Languages

It is always a challenge to make software and computing in general do Arabic (and other languages that are Right to Left and uses variable shape letters). Regarding the internet, I wrote several articles about Arabic on the Internet with a lot of background information, technical challenges, state of the market, and more. As far as Drupal is concerned, you can read my article on the various possible approaches for the Arabization of Drupal. There was an interesting discussion there from various people, including some with Afghani sites. Both Pashtu and Dari use variants of the Arabic script. Later, Egypt's Linux Users Group used Drupal with Arabic and English intermixed. A project for an Drupal Arabic translation was later created. Another good case study is the CSC-SY site going Drupal.

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Comments

Out of date unfortunately

First I'd like to express my admiration for your site design Khaled well done.

Secondly, unfortunately your article as well as Ayman's case study seem to be out of date when it comes to Arabization of Drupal latest version (5.x). No one so-called rtl theme seems to be properly working with 5.x. Of course I am talking about the publicly available ones (Bidi, Garlandrtl,...).

It is sad to have to say that it seems to me (at least when it comes to Drupal)the Arabic drupal pro's are the least sharing !!! where is the Arabic generousity and group-spirit ???

I've seen few wonderful arabized drupal websites but I have yet to see any up-to-date case study and at least basic working samples available for others.

peace....

Sharing exists, but could be better

Yes, the article may be out of date, but that is the nature of software, and Drupal in particular since it moves fast (which is generally a good thing, with only a few drawbacks).As for the Arab Drupal pros being the least sharing, this is simply not true as far as active members in the community (Alaa Abdel Fattah, Mohamed Sameer, Ayman Houreya, Amr Gharbeya, Munzir Taha and others). There is a lot of sharing going on, in the form of translations, and contributed themes, including the bidi theme.There is also a bunch of RTL themes already in the reposity, for example: garland RTL, internet services RTL, Manollio RTL, Fancy RTL, Candy Corn RTL, and BoxGrey RTL. If they do not provide exactly what you need, perhaps the techniques used in them can help you create one (which you then contribute back). Also, remember that there are lots of Hebrew RTL efforts, which should apply 99% to Arabic.Remember that this is free software, and hence driven by scratching your own itch. If I personally do not have a need, or the projects I do for my clients have the need, I simply do not have the time to implement new features just for the sake of contributing them. On the other hand, you can see that I have contributed 20+ modules so far, since the work on them has already been done. Where the sharing could be better is for the nice looking Arabic Drupal sites (commercial or activist) to contribute. Expecting them to contribute their look and feel is unrealistic, since this is the branding of their site and they don't want clones all over the internet. However they can do more to have case studies, techniques, tips and tricks, ...etc.Note that I live in Canada, and all my own web sites are in English, as well as my clients. This is why I don't do Arabic web sites a lot.-- Khalid Baheyeldin

Thanks Khalid,

Thanks Khalid,

Where the sharing could be better is for the nice looking Arabic Drupal sites (commercial or activist) to contribute. Expecting them to contribute their look and feel is unrealistic, since this is the branding of their site and they don't want clones all over the internet. However they can do more to have case studies, techniques, tips and tricks, ...etc.

I couldn't disagree with you at all and I very well appreciate your views but please note that I was talking about "up-to-date" themes which literally do not exist. All the themes you listed above aren't drupal 5.x compatible, with the only exception for the hebrew one garlandrtl. This buggy one still needs work too. Test it on IE 7 and see for yourself. One would be too naive to expect others to contribute their brand themes. This doesn't mean they couldn't contribute different working versions, something like a working basic template for others to start from and build their own designs upon. This is what I was trying to say when I said "sharing", and I did say "basic tips". After all, isn't this the spirit of Open Source Software ?!! Translation is the "least worry" compared with rtl direction when it comes to Arabization. Looking for Hebrew or other rtl themes too, yes sure and I came across your comment on cashflow-il post. His theme looks great rtl too but what use can I have from it if he didn't share his tips with us ? and I am talking "rtl" tips not branding tips here. Further, if those Hebrew or other rtl themers were willing to share their experience, can we read their languages ?!! After all, unfortunately, it seems to me that those who managed to have a really good work on rtl up-to-date themes come to Drupal.org just to advertise their websites and not to give anything back to the community. I don't mean to sound this negative but I hope you can appreciate the frustration one can have about this issue. As much as I like Drupal and believe in its superiority among CMSs, I regret it comes last as far as Arabic/ rtl is concerned. Thank you for your insight anyways Maybe it would be a good idea to take this discussion to to the Drupal forums.

Sample Arabic Drupal site

Can you please introduce some Arabic sites or blog which are running by Drupal?

Updated list

RTL themes for drupal 5 and 6 include Contented7 (http://drupal.org/project/contented7), Interactive media (http://drupal.org/project/interactive_media) and Internet services (http://drupal.org/project/internet_services). Also see the persian site http://theme.irdrupal.com for tens of other drupal RTL themes.