[development] updating translations: how valuable is user data after all?

Ashraf Amayreh mistknight at gmail.com
Tue May 22 19:34:58 UTC 2007

What if the update script compared the PO imported strings to the ones in
the database, if they are identical it would be marked as "not modified" in
the newly added modified bit, else, it would be marked as modified. Would
that work?

On 5/22/07, Gabor Hojtsy <gabor at hojtsy.hu> wrote:
> Hi guys,
> Now Drupal 6.x-dev includes cool features to import PO files
> automatically at every logical step:
>   - you can install Drupal in your foreign language, and have
>     PO files for all enabled modules imported along automatically
>   - when you add a new language, all translation files for
>     enabled modules get imported automatically for that language
>   - when you install new modules or enable themes, the translation
>     files for these components get imported for all enabled
>     languages
> This is all great and automated, contrib modules already have their PO
> files at the right place, and we will update the packaging scripts for
> Drupal 6 to package core translations properly.
> You might notice a pattern in the above features though: they IMPORT
> stuff into the database. Unfortunately we have no way in Drupal 6 to
> remove translations when you disable a theme or uninstall a module. We
> don't know what strings appeared in *only* that component, and not
> elsewhere in Drupal, so we can remove them without problems. For that,
> we would need the extractor script built into Drupal core to look
> through all source files of enabled components and identify the unused
> strings in the database. Fortunately this is doable in contrib, now that
> extractor has it's own Drupal module. (Of course it is doable in Drupal
> core my deleting all strings from the database and reimporting files for
> only the enabled components, but read on about the value of user data).
> BTW Drupal 6 core still need upgrade support for translations. So when
> you update a module or Drupal itself, new and corrected translations get
> into your database. New translations are easy again, they are just
> importing new stuff, which we are very good at :) Updating translations
> already in the DB threatens user data though. In Drupal 5 and before, we
> have no information about what translations a user modified on the web
> interface, so we don't know what was imported from available PO files
> and what was user defined. We can reimport stuff from the files, but can
> easily loose/overwrite user defined/updated strings.
> What can we do about not to loose user defined strings? We can easily
> introduce a 'modified' bit into the locale translations (target) table,
> just as it was in menu module in Drupal 5. That would help us from
> Drupal 6 onward, but it does not help us loosing user defined strings
> when a Drupal 5 to Drupal 6 upgrade happens. So how cautious should we
> be there?
>    1. Do not overwrite any existing translation, risking that we leave
>    incorrect and fixed translations in the database.
>    2. Do overwrite existing translations on an update, risking that
>    we overwrite user modified translations.
> Note that an update will not *remove* anything from the DB because we
> don't know what we can remove as explained above. It can *overwrite*
> stuff though, and problems are around these overwrites.
> So how should the update paths work for Drupal and for modules/themes?
> Gabor
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