[development] low hanging fruit for Drupal 6: variable defaults

Gabor Hojtsy gabor at hojtsy.hu
Fri May 4 21:24:36 UTC 2007

David Metzler wrote:
>> Most of what Drupal returns now is translated. Drupal has a concept of 
>> a language used to display a page. The default will probably be that 
>> variable_get() and friends return values in the page language used. We 
>> intend to support asking for values in other languages on demand.
> This is precisely what I was concerned about.   Although is is certainly 
> common to use variables for storing things like site slogans, site 
> names, etc.  Much of the data stored in variables is not textual in 
> nature and is not in fact designed to be alterable, regardless of the 
> language used.  What does it mean to translate an array, or an integer 
> for example?
> There are countless examples of code that tests for text values, radio 
> buttons, array selections, etc.  I would hate to see those chunks of 
> code start misbehaving because the values they were testing against in 
> If's,  foreaches, cases, etc.  got translated, cause the coder didn't 
> know better and didn't test for a translated case.
> I realize that we could put the burden on the developer to make sure to 
> intialize all their data structures appropriately as NON_TRANSLATABLE, 
> but it seems like a lot of overhead when writing code, (Hey all I wanted 
> was a persistant configuration variable).  I'm concerned that this will 
> make contrib modules less stable in the end.
> Wouldn't it be better to store translatable text strings somewhere else 
> entirely? And then make site slogans, etc store data in these locations 
> instead?  Make the data domain allowed to be stored in these cases be 
> textual only (not serialized structured data).
> I don't want to clog the airwaves, so I'll humbly step out of this 
> debate if I'm alone in this concern.

Dave, don't be concerned. The point of my suggestion to have a list of 
variables defined is that we can have a subset of them for translation. 
Look at the issue about user defined text translation and you will see 
that we are about to translate only what is there for translation, not 
all values blindly.


(How the approach in the patch fits with variables is not a far stretch 
probably, but depends on the outcome of how variable defaults will be 


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