Forum OpenACS Q&A: ACES in spanish

Posted by Emmanuelle Raffenne on

Tec-InFor is a department of the UNED (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia) which is working in the development of an e-learning platform since October 1999. People who worked there were students from the computer science school and one of their teachers. We installed the 3.2.2 version of ACS, translated it to spanish, and made some changes in the interface. This spanish version is being used since then, you can see it at . Its purpose is the management of students communities but not directly distance learning.

In June 2000, more students joined the Tec-InFor group and on May 2001 we started a new project based on the 3.4E version (ACES). The work done with ACES has been, once again, translation to spanish, interface customization and adaptation of the groups structure to the Spanish educative system. There is a production server (experimental) at: .

We plan to use this version next course, September 2002, to give online support for what we call "open courses" (postdegree courses, teaching staff formation...).

The improvements we want to incorporate are the following:

  • XML capabilities
  • Content management: we should port the CMS package for it. Maybe some work has been done yet.
  • Extend the categories system to provide searches by conceptual maps.

Our work can be downloaded from , under the name "aLF2".

Searching in the Openacs forums we understand ACES is going to be merged with Openacs 4.X, and ported to postgres... is that right? is it done yet? -Our english isn't as good as we thought ;)-

Posted by defunct defunct on
Briefly, yes its all essentially 'ported' to OpenACS4...

I and my team are currently finishing off acceptance testing, and therefore the production release is probably only days of now.

In actual fact OpenACS 4 supports both Oracle and Postgres versions (vitrually seamlessly)

CMS is working probably as well as it ever did, although I think there's general agreement here that it needs revisiting.

Mind you I'm not entirely clear what you mean by 'ported'. OpenACS 4 is radically different (and much, much better) architecturally.

I'm not all that familiar with older acs (i.e. 3.x) but I think its fair to say equivalent functionality exists in OpenACS 4, but its imlemented entirely differently.



Posted by Michael Feldstein on
Welcome, Emmanuelle. You can find out more about the code
for the new version of ACES (called dotLRN) at

MIT, the sponsor of this initiative is putting together a web site for
the project at

dotLRN does will have some limited CMS capabilities; perhaps
somebody from Sloan or OpenForce could elaborate on this. As
for "XML capabilities" and "provid[ing] searches by conceptual
maps," I'm not sure exactly what you mean in either of these
cases. The bit about the conceptual maps sounds interesting,

Posted by Tom Mizukami on
WRT Emmanuelle's need for XML capabilities what is the strategy for PG. We are in the planning stages for a large intranet/laboratory application based on dotLRN and will need extensive XML capabilities also.
Posted by Carl Robert Blesius on

Hello Emmanuelle,

I am taking a very close look at dotLRN (the new ACES) and am very interested in seeing a "globalized" version (German would be nice). I am still sorting through all the documentation and people that have worked on making ACS multilingual.

Here is a thread that lightly touches this monster.

I also just logged into your Spanish version... parece muy bueno!

OpenACS 4.5 is almost out and dotLRN is right on its heels. Soon there is going to be a dotLRN forum on this site to discuss this kind of stuff. We live in exciting times. In the meantime I am trying to get to know this magical toolkit and the "globalization" monster mentioned above. I think it is important that we wake the monster as a group (as soon as everyone has a little more air to deal with it).

It would be nice to hear how you created a Spanish version of ACES. I do not think you are alone... one of the founding mothers of Arsdigita is now here: (and I think they are running a Spanish version of ACES).

Anyhow... welcome aboard.

Posted by Ben Adida on
I concur with Michael that we should explore in greater detail
what you're envisioning when you say "XML capabilities."

dotLRN uses OpenACS 4.5/6, which uses ns_xml, which means
that dotLRN inherently has XML parsing and generation
capabilities. ns_xmlrpc works nicely for XML/RPC support.
ns_soap is under way for SOAP support. Thus, it's relatively
straight-forward to create a dotLRN interface to various XML data
formats. If you tell us more, I can give you more precise

It's great to see this global interest in dotLRN!

Posted by Roberto Mello on
I've thought several times about OpenACS internationalization. It would be great to see it happenning.

Don has mentioned that he has done some work on that area for the greenpeace work he's doing. Henry has done some work too. Now Emanuelle. Perhaps it's time we create an OpenACS-i18n forum just do discuss i18n and make it happen, and happen right.

I can see the having one .adp template per language, with a different ad_page_contract call (this was the approach Don used IIRC), but what about the messages sent from the .tcl files? One way would be to go with gettext:

Posted by Carl Robert Blesius on


I am with you!

There are actually TWO forums that need to be created:


Who do we have to bug?

Posted by Emmanuelle Raffenne on

I didn't know about dotLRN. I've installed it this week-end to see it. I've got some problems with java classes and sources, they appear as "invalid" in oracle and I don't know how to correct it.

For us, it's not easy to upgrade, first because we're a small team, and the more important because of the language. I think that Sussdorff made a internationalization package but I didn't test it. i18n would be nice and allow us to upgrade more often. We made some job for localization, we modified the calendar package that it should work according to the localization set in the DB.

About XML: there is a work of an educational modelling language in our university. More information at PALO (english version). The author of this work has joined now an european project with the same purpose, EML. Our goal is to make ACES compatible with contents packaged with PALO, and in the future with EML.

Thanks Carl for the Galileo link, I didn't know it before :/

Posted by Arjun Sanyal on
Emmanuelle: A tip I can give you off the top of my head is to check your oracle db setup statements. You may be missing "javasyspriv" or
something else. Try to install Openacs without the dotlrn packages. My guess is that you will get the same error without the dotlrn packages.

Requisite ad for Lars's tool to help write oracle statements:

If you get the same error without the dotlrn pacakges, post here for help on installing openacs. In the meantime, you can register at to see dotlrn from a user's point-of-view.

Posted by Samuel Feterman on
Pagina nueva 1


We are a company located in Guatemala that has been working for the last couple of years with ACS. One of the many sites that we have implemented is an educational portal for elementary and high schools. 

We now have almost 15,000 enrolled students, parents and teachers. We expect to have around 50,000 students by the end of the year. 

We are now in the process of training our users and implementing the different modules in the schools. You can visit our site at :

We are in the process of installing and as soon as we have a working version of dotLRN we will start with the translating process. We can gladly work in this together, or when the translation is done we can gladly share it with you and of course the community.


Samuel Feterman


Posted by Don Baccus on
The dotLRN forum's coming soon, I need to ping a couple of folks to make sure we had consensus about naming and scope.  I've been out of town for four days.  The issue - if it is worth calling it an issue - is making it clear that our forum here will be for OpenACS/dotLRN technical and integration issues.  "marketing" stuff - which will be broadly defined to include things like future direction of dotLRN proper (not OpenACS) - will be at MIT's dotLRN site.

As far as internationalization goes ... acs-lang works quite well if you're willing to accept the burden of building a catalogue of messages rather than have text embedded directly in Adp templates.  There's an interface for translators, and untranslated messages show up as links when pages are viewed by tranlators.  This makes it relatively easy to coordinate and manage the translation effort.  It also separates out HTML, there's no risk of some cut-and-paste monkey messing up your HTML as there would be if there were a separate template for each page in each language.  And site-wide changes only require changing one template.

It's fast as the translated messages are cached.  In our case, Lars Pind came up with a slick idea of using '#message_id#' as a shorthand within template pages for substituting the proper language version.  This works because of language state information I'm maintaining in an enhanced ad_conn structure.

Anyway ... if there's enough interest a new forum might be reasonable, or perhaps just a set of threads under the 4 design forum (it's OpenACS 4 I'm interested in, and a proper solution will not be localized so the whole community needs to buy in and have the chance to participate).

Posted by Carl Robert Blesius on

I want to make sure we are talking about the same things (this is all relatively new to me), which is why I point to the definitions found in the introduction of Yonatan Feldman's ACS- Java Core Globalization Requirements (which others might find helpful).

Your description of the way acs-lang (with Lars Pind's modifications) works for internationalization sounds like it would work for a very large portion of the community (it would certainly work for what we want to do if we can apply it to OpenForce 's dotLRN work), but I am not to sure what you mean by the following:

a proper solution will not be localized so the whole community needs to buy in and have the chance to participate

Why would a proper solution not be localized? What do you mean by "buy in"? I really want globalization work to go into OpenACS's code base and I would like to try to work on the community aspects, but I want to know what you mean first.

In closing: I really liked the two phrases from the Mozilla project mentioned in Yon's documentation:

  • One code base for the world
  • English is just another language
Posted by Don Baccus on
A solution won't be localized in the sense of not being restricted to a small portion of the code.  We try to run an open process here, so changes that are wide in scope get discussed in the wide open forums.

That's all I mean.

Posted by Carl Robert Blesius on

I thought you were talking about "localization" in the "globalization" sense. <sigh of relief> I am happy to hear that you are interested in a "global" solution for OpenACS, not a "local" one. ;-)

I am going to start collecting and sorting information that has been posted on the subject. As soon as I get a decent amount of stuff together I will post it. From what I have read in the forums, it seems a decent solution might not be as far away as I thought.