Monday, February 6, 2017

Experience Editor Language Flags in Sitecore 8

After upgrading to Sitecore 8, you may notice that the Experience Editor (formally Page Editor) no longer displays flag icons when selecting a language from the Experience Ribbon tab.
For language-heavy sites where multiple language names may be present – this change makes it difficult for Content Authors to distinguish between en-EN, en-US, en-GB, and en-AU, and all other region-based languages while in this mode.

Sitecore 7

Sitecore 8

The absence of the flag icons in Sitecore 8 is reportedly by-design in several areas due to the frequency in changes of flags. Sitecore has opted out of showing any flags to avoid the maintenance involved in keeping the list updated.


We want the flag indicators back!
But also, the related ISO code.

Our goal is to ensure:
  1. The language flag icon for the Change Language button in the Ribbon is swapped correctly.
  2. The language flag icons are displayed to the left of the Language name.
  3. The language code Iso label is displayed.

To override the default Sitecore request code, we need to determine which files are related to the original feature.
In this particular scenario, we know we’re dealing with the Experience Editor and the Languages chunk in the ribbon.
Inspecting the button element reveals a corresponding request name:
  • data-sc-iconlabelrequest="ExperienceEditor.Language.IconLabel"
  • data-sc-retrievelistitemsrequest="ExperienceEditor.Language.GetLanguageItems"
  • data-sc-require="/-/speak/v1/ribbon/LargeDropDownButton.js
A quick config search also reveals that the Sitecore.ExperienceEditor.Speak.Requests.config file contains the definition for this (and other related) request(s).
To reach our end result, we’ll need to override the following lines:
These files are related to this enhancement:
  1. \App_Config\Include\Sitecore.ExperienceEditor.Speak.Requests.config
  2. \sitecore\shell\client\Sitecore\Speak\Ribbon\Controls\LargeDropDownButton\LargeDropDownButton.js


To override the language requests, I created a custom config file which should be placed into the App_Config/Include/ folder.

Note that the name of the config file should be prefaced with a ‘z’ so the config can properly patch after the original requests config is rendered: zGetLanguagesExperienceEditor.config
I used “patch:instead” to replace the two requests:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<configuration xmlns:patch="">
         <!-- ExperienceEditor.Language.IconLabel Overrides -->
         <request patch:instead="request[@type='Sitecore.ExperienceEditor.Speak.Ribbon.Requests.ChangeLanguage.LanguageIconLabelRequest, Sitecore.ExperienceEditor.Speak.Ribbon']" name="ExperienceEditor.Language.IconLabel" type="ExperienceLanguageFlags.SitecoreExtensions.ExperienceEditor.LanguageIconLabelRequestCustom, ExperienceLanguageFlags" />
         <!-- ExperienceEditor.Language.GetLanguageItems Overrides -->
         <request patch:instead="request[@type='Sitecore.ExperienceEditor.Speak.Ribbon.Requests.ChangeLanguage.GetLanguages, Sitecore.ExperienceEditor.Speak.Ribbon']" name="ExperienceEditor.Language.GetLanguageItems" type="ExperienceLanguageFlags.SitecoreExtensions.ExperienceEditor.GetLanguagesCustom, ExperienceLanguageFlags" />


After obtaining the correct name and type, we can utilize a reflection software to grab copies of the GetLanguages and LanguageIconLabelRequest code within the Sitecore.ExperienceEditor.Speak.Ribbon.dll.
I created a new class in a location within our solution, gave it a relevant name, inherited from the original classes, and copied the code structure from the reflection in order to customize it.
  1. GetLanguagesCustom.cs
  2. LanguageIconLabelRequestCustom.cs


When you click on the button to /-/speak/request/v1/expeditor/ExperienceEditor.Language.GetLanguageItems and builds out the following JSON response:
This response already contains a path to a flag image file - ‘IconPath’ - however, there is no label available for us to utilize on the front-end.
We need to add a new variable for the language code label:

Within my custom GetChildItems() method used to provide the list of Languages in JSON format, I added the LanguageCode variable which attempts to get and set the “Regional Iso Code” (or “Iso” if not available) field from the language item in Sitecore.

The request now includes the LanguageCode field and value:


I noticed that the flag icon does not change according to the selected language by default.
In the screenshot below, I’ve selected French and while the URL reflects the language change, the flag remains set to the original US icon.

Overriding the Requests.ChangeLanguage.LanguageIconLabelRequest request will allow us to provide the correct language data (Icon and Label) for the current item request:


The location of the inner Sitecore files responsible for this and made a custom modification to display the flags:
This change is specific to the Experience Editor and does not extend to the Content Editor.
  1. Force the showIcon variable to 1 (true).  This variable is used when generating the popup HTML.

2) Create a new variable for the LanguageCode variable now available from the Requests.ChangeLanguage.GetLanguages request and JSON response:

3) Generate HTML elements (icon image, span element to house LanguageCode) and append them into the popup container.

Final Result

Our final result will now display the flag icon, language name, and language Iso code value:
You can find the source code used in this post on GitHub or download and install the package.
* Please note that this has only been confirmed using Sitecore 8.0 Update-1.

Let me know what you think of this solution and feel free to leave comments or suggestions!