With WPML 2.3.4 out, we’re starting work on WPML 2.4.0. As always, we have more ideas for features than time to build them, so I’d like to hear your voice before we choose what’s in and what’s out.
First, the “big picture”. Our goal is to make it easier for you to build multilingual websites. I know that this is pretty obvious, but we need to always keep that in mind. The big question is, what are you actually doing, and so, how can we make your life easier?
WordPress is moving farther away from blogs and into mainstream CMS. As such, we see these parts becoming critical:
- The menu system – any WordPress theme that we see already uses the native WordPress menu system. Often, a site includes several menus, replacing hard-coded texts and other custom-solutions.
- Custom data types – the combination of custom post types, taxonomy and field lets webmasters build anything using WordPress. We see more need for better integration with custom write panels.
- Role management – complex sites have multiple authors and a hierarchy of admins. This calls for more fine-grained access control, including per language.
For WPML 2.4.0, I’d like to see major improvements on these three fronts. Let me tell you what we’re planning.
Auto-Synchronize Menu Translation
Already today, you can translate menus with WPML. The hard part is actually creating these translated menus in the WordPress Admin. Although possible, this may be a major challenge for admins. If your menu includes dozens of items and you’re running a site in 3 languages, you need to manually recreate that menu three times. Of course, if you don’t speak those languages, it’s a bit more difficult.
In WPML 2.4.0, I’d like to see a synchronize menu button, for each menu. This will automatically create translations for that menu in all other languages. Once the translated menus already exist, it will update them to reflect changes in the default-language menu. This way, any manual edits that you do on translated menus will be kept.
Support Custom-Field Synching with Custom Write Panels
This one is a tough nut. There are several great custom-field management plugins, which produce a great user-experience when working with custom data. Unfortunately, WPML cannot properly synchronize custom fields between translations when you use these plugins. This is because all these plugins go around the WordPress API and create their own conventions.
We’re working on a commercial-grade custom-field plugin for WordPress and we expect to release it in a few weeks. This will allow to completely customize edit panels, while being fully WPML-compatible. This will be a free plugin, downloadable from the wp.org repository. We see this as a complementary function to WPML, and a very necessary one.
Integration With Role Scoper
Many users have already requested that WPML and Role Scoper work correctly together. The RS author is also interested in that and so are we. The only thing missing was time. It’s already included in the todos for WPML 2.4.0.
Once this is working, admins will be able to choose what different users can do. This includes access to WPML’s admin screens as well as access to standard WordPress functions, based on language. This is all preliminary work and depends heavily on third-party cooperation.
What do you think?
I can’t promise that we will include everything that you suggest, at least not in WPML 2.4.0, but it’s very important for us to hear it. If you have comments about what we’re planning or great suggestions about what we should add, leave a comment. Thanks!