[development] Seeking help internationalizing Views (and Panels and maybe other modules for D6)

Earl Miles merlin at logrus.com
Fri Apr 25 22:21:11 UTC 2008

Okay, so I have this idea for a module that will allow contrib modules 
to have their objects translated. I just did a scan of the modules 
available for Drupal 6.x involving translation, and #translateable seems 
close but not quite what I'm looking for, but it might be possible to 
turn it into what I'm looking for. Here's what I'm thinking:

Many modules work with objects of some sort; particularly my modules. 
Because of the complexity of my objects, I've gone a long way to 
disengage them from the form. It is not possible to use duplicate, 
related objects to do translation, as is often done with nodes, because 
a view object does a LOT of stuff and it's very important not to have 
duplicates that try to do the same thing. This is also true of Panels.

One thing I can do, is pretty easily identify any string I store as 
translateable. This is my proposed API:

Views loads a view. Upon rendering, if the global $language->language
is not the default language, and this module is enabled, Views will
call MODULENAME_translate_object('views', 'view', $view->name) and
do an inline replacement of all strings on the object itself. Views
will also provide a 'translate' link which will lead to a URL provided
by this module to translate that view. It may be possible to do some
fapi integration with ajax translation but that's a 'bonus' feature. 
Could be cool, as long as it's not too hard to implement in my already 
crazy UI.

  * Return an array of translated strings, or NULL if there are no
  * translated strings for this object.
  * @param $module
  *   The name of the module that owns the object.
  * @param $type
  *   The type of object being translated. Example: 'node', 'view', etc.
  * @param $id
  *   The unique identifier of the object. May be a string!
  * @param $language
  *   The language to translate to. If not specified, use the current
  *   langauge from global $language.
function MODULENAME_translate_object($module, $type, $id, $language)

  * Tell MODULENAME what objects your module has available for
  * translation.
  * @return
  *   An array of object identifiers. Each one must be unique.
function hook_translateable_objects() {
   // example
   return array('view');

  * Tell MODULENAME what strings a particular object has available.
  * Because some objects may be dynamic, this is called for every
  * unique object id when translation is actively occurring.
  * @param $type
  *   The object identifier that corresponds to that used by
  *   hook_translateable objects
  * @param $id
  *   The unique object ID being translated.
  * @return
  *   An array of strings; the key is the string identifier, and
  *   each value is an array that contains the following:
  *     - title: The title of the field.
  *     - description: The description of the field.
  *     - value: The current value of the field.
function hook_translateable_strings($type, $id) {
   // example
   return array('view');

 From the API perspective, that's about all I have to do. I have to do 
some extra work to make sure each component of the view provides the 
strings properly, but that's not hard.

The translation interface will need to record state information on the 
strings, so that it can tell the user if the string has changed since 
the last time it was translated, making it easy to highlight what needs 
to be updated. It might be nice to provide a way to browse, but I think 
it's better to let the module provide that and require the module to 
provide a link to the translator; that's less work for this module and 
is likely to be much less clumsy.

If someone implements this, I promise Views will use it and will use it 
very quickly. If a module like #translateable wants to use something 
like this, so much the better; I would really prefer it if an existing 
translation module can take on these features, so that we get more 
widespread usage. That said, my belief is that any module that Views 
uses for translation will see widespread use in the localization 
community, and thus, if well maintained, will become a de facto standard 
and we can convince other module developers to use it too. I'm willing 
to be flexible, too, but Views has special needs; you'll need to cater 
to it to get this working, and translating Views is a very important 
thing for a truly multi-lingual site. But also, with this API any of my 
modules will be easily translateable.

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