Rethinking add-on localization

  • Posted: July 28, 2013, 11:22 p.m.
  • Last updated: July 28, 2013, 11:31 p.m.
  • Tags: frontpage mozilla

As an add-on developer, I don't like doing localization. It's one of those hurdles I have to get over before I can release something. The thought process goes something like this: "I really want to release this new version for people to use and love and send me money for. Oh, I should probably get the translated strings up-to-date. Ugh."

What if localizing was as easy as merging a pull request?

There's a problem with that. Translators probably don't know git¹, and programmers are probably busy programming.

What if we took GitHub, and mushed it together with localization?

Ah, now that I can do, or rather, I can get a computer to do. Get the strings translated, turn the changes into a patch, upload to GitHub. Boom.

So that's what I've done. Introducing Zoo. Nothing really all that fancy, just a text box for each string, and some code to do all the complicated stuff. It's far from ready for the prime-time, but it should be good enough if you're a translator and want to muck around with something different. I've loaded up four of my add-ons there (they come with some existing translations which you won't be able to edit) as a starting point.

I'm nervous about posting this. Please don't break it.

(I'm often lurking in #developers on Mozilla IRC in the US evening/Asian day/European morning, come say hi.)

¹ But, I have had two translation pull requests this week. That makes a total of two, ever. It confirmed what I thought though, that this is a great way of doing things.