[drupal-devel] Internationalization, Usability and changes in the coding conventions

Chris Johnson chris at tinpixel.com
Sat Feb 19 19:00:35 UTC 2005

Carl McDade wrote:
>   There should be an effort to externalize all english text into default
> variables. It makes a great step towards true internatiolization. Does
> not cost anything in terms of performance or matainance. What it does do
> is make the code that uses hard coded strings open and more resuable.

> -function message_access() {
> -  return t('You are not authorized to access this page.');
> +function message_access($message = 'You are not authorized to access
> this page.') {
> +  return t($message);
> }

I do not see how this helps with translation, internationalization and 
localization efforts.  Could you clarify?

I do know the following:

1.  Using code like this probably results in PHP making a copy of each string 
into a variable, and that costs execution resources.

2.  Currently all strings that can be translated or localized are wrapped in 
calls to t(), making such translation and localization fairly straight forward.

3.  Drupal has been translated and localized into a bunch of different 
languages and countries around the world, even some east Asian counties.

4.  The choices for what represents the messages to be translated are limited 
to one of two classes:  (1) a natural language, or (2) a symbol.  In the case 
of (2) symbols, the development of the software is equally difficult and 
clumsy for all developers.  I've actually worked on such a commercial project, 
with good tools, and it was still cumbersome and annoying.  In the case of 
(1), the question becomes which natural language do you choose?  No matter 
which one, some developers will be handicapped somewhat.  However, choosing 
English, as Drupal has, handicaps the fewest developers, as English is widely 
used.  It's not a perfect solution, but I have not seen any better ones.

Or if I put on my systems analyst hat, I am led to ask this:  What is the real 
problem you are trying to solve?  Sometimes a proposed solution to a perceived 
problem blinds us to other possibilities.  Could you state the larger problem 
you have encountered for which this is a proposed solution?

Chris Johnson

More information about the drupal-devel mailing list