Internet is vast. So vast and rich in tools that nowadays you can actually expand your business painlessly to any country while drinking your morning coffee. Let me tell you a story about one of our customers and my beloved integration software.

So there is this customer X. We know each other for a while now, as our team did FRENDS integration for their CRM (everytime a payment is made, invoice is automatically created – stay tuned for another article about it).

And X asks me. Hey Paweł, what if I wanted to expand to other markets? I got this translator and she can translate some phrases to german. I think she might use excel and we can upload an excel to FRENDS. Using this data we can update our products. What do you think?

I asked then, how many products are there? (As it turned out around 6000). How long would it then take and how costly it would be? What’s your ROI? And what is benefit of having perfect translation? And how many languages does she know beside german? 

All of those question led me to think.. why not follow big e-commerce guys? They don’t hire much translators (at first at least..)

As you may already know Amazon or AliExpress did this auto translate thing where “Your Orders” in polish sounded as “Twoje Rozkazy”. It means an order in polish but not shopping one, more as “Your orders my liege?”. But quality aside if I didn’t knew english I still could easily navigate those platforms using this non-perfect translation. Hence.. when shopping we’re not looking for much consistency right? Result is pretty much similar. Order is made and sales grow.

So I say to X. Well. Let’s try to make automatic translations using Google Translate. Then by looking at the traffic and statistics we can fix parts of platform that are obviously wrong? Automatic translations should be easy enough to do them quickly and painlessly. And it was so simple I cried (from joy and effect).

So let’s talk ingredients:

  1. 5 minutes to pick and create translator account, we picked Google Translate – well documented, lot of languages, supports text and html (you can always pick any other that has API or can produce ingestable data (file, queue)).
  2. 0 minutes – server we will run our process on.. so we need.. ah nothing! Our Frends license had cloud agent included on which we could play whatever we want!
  3. 0 minutes – browser – we need to access Frends panel to design and run our process, well since you’re reading article.. you already have that.
  4. 2 minutes – prepare list of target languages, I picked 6 (could’ve picked 20) :).
  5. few hours – frends process fit for our e-commerce API. In a nutshell, iterate over each translatable item, ask for translation, update item. There were all kinds of shenanigans but some .NET code, loops, exception handling did the trick.

And final results looks as this (simple!) – each segment is grouped in respective subprocesses that can be launched on demand, on schedule or by API*.

*If you don’t want to get much technical as in “I’m not a geek” I recommend you to scroll down past screenshots and read why this approach works so much better than writing standalone application.

Looking in each subprocess it looks little more complicated, but this is to be honest the most complicated part in whole project.

Use of low code was kind of our choice, but you can also create visual loops without having any programming skills. And if you don’t know how to do something? You still had guys at support@frends.com or community who could help.

What was most fun is that we made it reusable. Another platform? What we need to do is change environment variables and it will work.

And last matter of running, and monitoring..

Bottom line is, in this magic trick – so translating e-commerce business to 6 languages in a day, we used something we had. Usually we use FRENDS for Integrations. But we utilized* it to perform programming task and we ended with complete, transparent application, easy to be changed, launched, monitored (all you need is browser). And as you can see without knowing any code, you can create API, functions, translations, processes and tasks. Anybody can code, even without a code as it turns out :).

*just as we did with automated testing in article before: why-plain-coding-and-not-using-enterprise-integration-tools-is-not-the-way-to-do-many-things-right-in-it.

And what’s most important there isn’t programming task that couldn’t be written here as FRENDS as it is now, supports pure .NET Core 2.0 and 4.5.7 with external nuggets that you may include. More of it, it supports launching anything else (like java or python) on your target server, providing there is installed agent there.

And as always, post, comment, discuss, share. Have business case? Visit hiqpoland.pl and chat with us 🙂