GlobalSight is an open source Globalization Management System (GMS). It’s main purpose is to automate the flow of content to translators, and essentially streamline many of the tasks involved in the translation workflow, scoping, project management, translation, review etc. as well as centralizing translation memories.
Similar GMS systems would be SDL WorldServer (formally Idiom WorldServer before being acquired by SDL in 2008), and SDL TMS.
What differentiates GlobalSight (owned by WeLocalize), is that it is open source. The source code is freely available. It can be customized as you see fit. It also provides a very powerful web services API, that you can use to integrate other systems in your translation workflow with GlobalSight, that’s what I want to introduce here, specifically the steps to get setup from C# to interact with this API.
I’m going to assume you already have an instance of GlobalSight setup, I’d imagine you wouldn’t be interested in this API otherwise.
- First off, create a new C# Visual Studio project, a console application will suffice for this tutorial.
- Next, we need to add a Service Reference to the API. To do this, follow the steps here, using the following URL:
Note – The service is called ‘AmbassadorWebService‘ because GlobalSight itself was previously called Ambassador, when it was owned by a company called GlobalSight. The product was renamed GlobalSight after it was taken over by WeLocalize. If you get to the point where you are looking at the (rather large) code base, you will see it littered with references to Ambassador.
- Once you successfully add the service reference, try to build your project – you will notice it will fail (at time of writing at least anyway):
There are duplicate entries in Reference.cs for these two functions, getAttributesByJobId and getProjectIdByFileProfileId.
To fix this issue, just double click on each of the above errors, and comment out the duplicate entries in Reference.cs. This will allow your project to build, but is a pain, as you need to do it each time you update your service reference.
Now that your project successfully builds, you are ready to use the API.
Before trying to authenticate with the web service, you may need to do some manual configuration on your GlobalSight instance. The IP Filter feature is enabled by default – this will only allow IP’s on a white list to interact with GlobalSight via the API. There are two options here:
- Disable the IP filter completely – not recommended.
- Add the necessary IP ranges to the white list.
See the ‘IP Filter’ section of the web services documentation for more information on this.
Once you complete the above, we should be able to connect to the API via some C# code.
Before calling any operations, the login function must be called with a valid GlobalSight account. This function returns an authentication token which must then be passed as a parameter to all subsequent API calls.
Let’s connect, and call a simple function, getAllUsers, that will give us the list of all user currently in the system, and write it out to the console so that we can see the response:
GS_API.AmbassadorService client = new GS_API.AmbassadorService();
string auth = client.login("TestUser1", "password");
string userinfo = client.getAllUsers(auth);
If you have done everything correctly, you will see an XML response in your console window detailing all the users currently setup in the system. Most API calls to retrieve information return an XML response, it’s just a matter of parsing it, and doing whatever you want with it then.
Here are my feelings so far, having used this API for the past 3 months to automate different tasks:
- You can’t rely on the documentation on the Wiki – some function definitions are out of date, some now have extra parameters etc. There is not enough information in the documentation about what each call actually returns (i.e. the format of the XML). I found myself having to run commands to see what they actually return. The API documentation needs some love.
- Some API call sequences (e.g. for job creation) are really difficult to figure out, e.g. you need to call uploadFile, then createJob. Again, making this clear in the documentation would be better.
- Some functions expect paramters in XML format, but no example of this format is give. Documentation!
- For an open source project, there doesn’t seem to be any community. The forums on globalsight.com are not particularly active, and run some really old forum software that is extremely frustrating to use. Maybe there is a community, and I’m just not aware, but it certainly looks like they don’t hang out at globalsight.com.
- All this aside, the web services API is extremely powerful, and I seriously recommend looking into it if you use GlobalSight – some functions can save you days – e.g. upload of translation memories via the API, as opposed the web interface.
This covered a basic introduction to interacting with the GlobalSight web services API from C#.
In a future post, I’ll cover how to actually create GlobalSight jobs via this API. If there’s anything else you’d like to see covered in a future post, leave a comment below, and I’ll see what I can do.