Founder and Lead Developer of Macrotone Consulting Ltd.

Making a component truly Multilingual (2)

In an earlier post we mentioned the topic of associations. In Joomla terms associations are effectively links between equivalent items that are in different languages. In our component we also wish to allow associations so there are a few changes we need to implement for this as well. There are no table changes required since we will be making use of the supplied Joomla associations table.  This table is composed of three columns, the first being an id column that is the value of the specific item being referenced. In our case it is the id of the category or entry. It is worth mentioning that within the Joomla associations table the id column is NOT a primary key. The second column is a context value, which is typically composed of the name of the component followed by the specific component type separated by a full stop. i.e. ‘com_rialto.category’ or ‘com_rialto.entry’.  The third and final column is a hash (md5) key. This key is what is used to ‘associate’ the various parts together. So as an example two categories associated together would have the same ‘hash key’.

Associations – Back End

The setting up of associations is something that seems to be restricted mainly to the back end so it is these changes that we will look at first.

The following changes are required:

  • Modify the views such that if associations are enabled they are displayed as required.
  • Modify the model save method so that upon the item being saved the existing associations are removed and ‘new’ associations created.
  • Modify the model ‘delete’ method so that when a item is deleted any existing associations are removed. If the component is making use of the ‘trash’, i.e. when an item is deleted it is not actually removed, just relocated to a ‘trash’ status for removed when the ‘trash is emptied’ this also has to be allowed for in our code.   [Note that we found a problem in this area, in that the code we were following for the Joomla content component, there was no appropriate code to remove associations in the delete method. We think this is a definite Joomla bug, unless we have missed something we do not understand.]
  • Modify the model ‘get’ methods so that the associations for the specific item are picked up correctly. 

The change for the views is slightly more complex than it might initially seem, since there has to be incorporated a means for the selection of ‘other’ items for the associations to be made. This is achieved by making use of slightly modified modal views which are displayed to enable the selection to be made.  We say ‘modified’ since for a selection criteria one does not necessarily need to display all of the item details, only sufficient to enable a clear distinction to be made to enable the correct item selection to be made.  The ‘code’ we were following/studying also permitted editing of the item from these modal views, however we question the logic as to why one would wish or want to provide additional editing at this point. The coding is not difficult but just, to our mind, seems unnecessary.

This does effectively complete all of the back end changes with very little pain being encountered on the way.

The question of how the ‘entries’ are displayed using the associations is something that is more specific to the front end. In the back end we tend to concentrate upon the maintenance aspect of the various associations so the coding in the models is virtually unchanged as we wish to see ‘all’ of the entries and categories, irrespective of what ever language they may be written in. This is something we will consider in the next post in the series as there are a number of situations to the covered.

To be continued…..

Making a component truly Multilingual (3)
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