A Private AppStore…

All the apps come in these places
And the apps are not the same
You don’t look at their faces
And you don’t ask their names
You don’t think of them as human
You don’t think of them at all
You keep your mind on the money
Keeping your eyes on the wall
I’m your private AppStore, I don’t cost no money
I’ll do what you want me to do…

Every time I think the words “Private AppStore” that song comes into my head and leaves me with an earworm for a while.  Funny, but true!

What is a Private AppStore?

Hopefully all Trados Studio users are familiar with the SDL AppStore by now?  [wpdiscuz-feedback id=”1bwd1k38uj” question=”I expect everyone knows about the SDL AppStore by now?” opened=”0″]Let me know[/wpdiscuz-feedback] in the comments if you weren’t!  Certainly that AppStore link is to the very first article I wrote for my blog back in 2012 and set the scene for much of the focus of my ramblings eight years ago.

As the concept of an AppStore for Studio has grown a couple or three things have remained pretty much unresolved until now.  The first relates to licensing because if you work with Trados Studio using a network licence, or an activation code provided to you by someone else, then you don’t have a licence of your own in your account.  This means you can’t download the apps from the AppStore.  This is something that can affect University students, Government organisations, companies that purchase many licences for their users etc.

The second unresolved issue is applications that are developed for private use and don’t go on the public AppStore at all.  Whilst we have several hundred apps in the AppStore we have even more that are created by companies building solutions to help improve their own workflows and productivity.  Managing the roll-out and update process for these applications is quite complicated and requires some administrative effort.

The third thing is that some companies want to manage which of the apps in the AppStore have been approved for use within their own organisation.  Managing that list of apps and providing updates is just as much a problem for them as if they’d developed them.

The Private AppStore can solve all three of these problems by enabling a company, or an individual, to host their own AppStore and plug it into the AppStore integration in Trados Studio 2021.

How does it work?

Configuring Trados Studio 2021

The Trados Studio 2021 AppStore integration will show you all the apps that are available for Trados Studio 2021 in this handy little view:

If you go into the Settings for this feature, in the bottom left corner, you’ll see something like this:

By default the SDL AppStore will be activated (checked) and you won’t have any URL(s) for a Private AppStore.  I have two (you can have as many as you like), one for beta testing apps and one I’m using configured on my local computer just to play with it for this article.  To activate them I just check the box for the ones I want to use.  For this little process I’ll disable the public AppStore and only enable my local AppStore, like this (I can have them all checked if I like):

Doing this I now see something new in my AppStore view:

Something completely different… three apps that aren’t on the AppStore at all, and one app that is.  All four of these are in my Private AppStore and will only be available to users who configure Studio with the URL I provide and have access rights to that location.

Installing and using the PA Admin tool

The PA Admin tool, which is available in the public SDL AppStore is the key to this.  This small tool makes it easy for an administrator to set up and maintain the store.  There are detailed instructions in the SDL AppStore wiki in the SDL Community on how to use the installed tool, and deployment instructions on the SDL AppStore github pages for the service itself so I’m not going to go over these here, but the basic process is this:

  1. download PA Admin from the SDL AppStore
  2. unzip the contents of the file to a folder on the server that will host the AppStore service
  3. make a few small changes to reflect your environment and network paths
  4. run the AppStoreIntegrationService.exe that you copied from the zip (so you will require administrative rights to do this… you won’t be able to run this on dropbox or googledrive for example)

That’s it.. you now have the service running and are ready to go:

To use the Admin tool is similarly straightforward.  I’m running it locally for this article hence the localhost but it looks like this:

Just a simple webpage where you can add a new app, or edit existing apps really easily.  It looks a little similar to the admin pages for app developers who submit their apps to the SDL AppStore so will be quite familiar to this group.  For example:

I can add the app name, a link to the app image, a description of what it does using simple html, control the version numbers, link to the app itself etc.  All of these things allow Trados Studio 2021 to interact with the apps you put in here, ensuring users configured to access your private AppStore will see the apps, be able to download and install them, and also receive automatic updates whenever you update them.

All in all this is further advancement of the many features supporting customisation in Trados Studio 2021.  It’s also a much needed one for all the users who were unable to access the appstore in the past based on any of the reasons I mentioned at the start.

There is no doubt in my mind that Trados Studio is the most extensible CAT tool in the market and this is surely one of the reasons it’s the tool of choice for the majority of localization professionals today.

The earworm!

But after all of that let me leave you with a little classic Tina Turner… and an earworm too 😉

Some you win… some you lose

When we released the new Trados 2021 last week I fully intended to make my first article, after the summary of the release notes, to be something based around the new appstore integration.  The number of issues we are seeing with this release are very low which is a good thing, but nonetheless I feel compelled to tackle one thing first that has come up a little in the forums.  It relates to some changes made to improve the product for the many.

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Not your usual stuff!

Time seems to be going faster as I’m getting older as it doesn’t seem that long ago since we saw the release of the 2019 version of SDL Trados Studio.  But here we are, it is that time again and many users will already have noticed they have a shiny new version in their account… SDL Trados Studio 2021.  Fast as it is, we don’t want to do these product launches too often because I can tell you it’s a major undertaking requiring no small amount of coordination between the product management teams, core development teams, AppStore team, support teams, customer success teams, marketing teams, sales teams, back office teams, IT teams, 3rd party developers who provide plugins and more.  In addition to this we often have other projects on the go and many of the teams worked on the new sdl.com website which also went live this week, AND everyone did all of this while having to work isolated from their colleagues while working from home.  Quite an achievement and I certainly feel proud to be part of this SDL team, and not just because of how well they all work together.

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The last few years have seen some chatter around the topic of “lights-out project management” which is an idea referring to the automation of tasks, particularly through the use of AI (Artificial Intelligence), so that human intervention is not required.  Ideally, of course, allowing project managers to concentrate their efforts on other, more productive and value-added activities.  The goal of reducing the time spent on administrative tasks is nothing new and some attempts to achieve this can be more of a false economy because of the “hidden” technical restrictions under the hood of the tools used.

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Radical Anxiety Termination…

… Really Awful Tucker, Radically Altered Terminology, Rheumatoid Arthritis Test, Race Against Time, Recurrent Acute Tonsillitis, Real Acquisition Technology, Republicans Against Trump… the list goes on!  All with the same acronym RAT.  A comment on the SDL AppStore this week relating to a new plugin called the RAT inspired me to write this article this evening.  Everyone is loving this plugin so far but one user had an objection to the name, the acronym, because he didn’t get it.  Actually to be fair someone else on the SDL Community didn’t like it either… Rats are dirty! Continue reading

Santa’s little helper…

Santa’s little helper… and if any of you are fans of “The Simpsons” I’m not talking about a greyhound… is a xmas gift from the SDL Community and SDL AppStore teams to make it easier to get help when you’re working in SDL Trados Studio.  The SDL Community has become incredibly busy in the last few years, so on the whole I’m confident people have learned how to find where to post and navigate through the myriad of forums available to them.  Certainly we have some good short links and I have written about the communities before:

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The Story of “Studio” Colours…

Once upon a time, of course, the translation environment was just black and white with gray in between.  Black and white and gray?  The AppStore gods were understandably bored and angry, so they went looking for other colours to brighten the world for their users.  The resulting colours emerged from the Microsoft Word palette resulting in fifteen colours to choose from.  The AppStore gods were so happy with these colours they decided to paint the translation environment from the AppStore.  They opened Visual Studio and flung the colours around, resulting in a brand new app. they called “Wordlight” and a new colourful feature for the “Community Advanced Display Filter”.

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How do you eat an elephant?

How do you eat an elephant?  Well, of course we don’t really want to eat an elephant, we love elephants!  But if we did want to eat something that large we’d do it in bite sized chunks!  This is something that is particularly relevant when working with large resources such as translation memories or terminology that is freely available from a number of places on the internet.  I’ve addressed this before in various articles… these two are particularly relevant to the topic I’m addressing today:

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Apply a TM Template

Ever since the release of Studio 2009 we have had the concept of Language Resource Templates, and ever since the release of Studio 2009 I’d risk a bet that most users don’t know what they’re for or how to use them.  To be fair this is hardly a surprise since their use is actually quite limited out of the box and access to the goodies inside is pretty hard to get at.  It’s been something I used to see users complain about a long time ago but for some years now I rarely see them mentioned anymore.  This article, I hope, might change that.

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