When defining the content architecture of your implementation, some pieces of presented content on the pages will not necessarily be part of the main or related content, i.e. the context item or datasource items, this could include labels for business forms, buttons or similar. As it is recommended that all content on the pages can be edited through Sitecore – for flexibility as well as language support reasons – there needs to be a way of managing this content.
There are a few different mechanisms for managing these types of content, but the most traditional way is through a Dictionary – which is also supported in the Sitecore platform through the Sitecore.Globalization namespace. Although the default Sitecore implementation is somewhat rudimentary and does not for example include Experience Editor or hierarchical support, it is often enough for many use cases. The Sitecore Dictionary however does not have immediate support for multi-site, multi-tenant and the modular architecture out of the box and for more advanced use cases it is recommended to re-implement the Dictionary concept within the solution.
Avoid reusing dictionary texts across modules, features or views as it can limit the flexibility for the editors. Just because two labels have the same value at the time of implementation does not mean that an editor does not want to change them independently at some later time.
Dictionary entries are used in the presentation and business logic of the modules and are therefore owned by the feature modules themselves. In order to make itself available to all features, any custom Dictionary API, functionality or principles herein should be a foundation level module in the Sitecore implementation.
To increase modularity and discoverability in the dictionary, entries should be referenced in a hierarchical structure. For example, their structure [module]/[view]/[text] would be represented as Accounts/Login/Remember Me. Furthermore, dictionaries should be available on a site or tenant level to allow labels to be managed individually across sites.
The Habitat example site includes a custom Dictionary foundation layer module which enables site specific dictionaries, enables Experience Editor support and hierarchical support.