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.

I've found something unusual in my add-on stats

Here's a graph (or a chart if you're that way inclined) of the users of one of my add-ons over time. Firefox 14 - 16 are missing from it which is confusing, but that's not the unusual bit. Let's see if you can spot it:

Why I haven't replied to your email

Sorry if you've been writing to me about my add-ons or other work... these things have been on the back burner for me lately.

Oh, and I have a broken wrist and won't be writing any code for some time.

Can haz source?

Recently I've decided to make better use of my GitHub account by putting some of my work out there for others to see and contribute to, if they feel the need. It's also been a chance to read through a lot of my old code and tidying it up (plenty of WTF was I thinking? moments).

I've put some of my Mozilla add-ons up there and some javascript bits and pieces. I may later add the rest of my add-ons, some of my PHP code (although mostly that is gathering dust) and possibly the CMS that runs my website (already on BitBucket).

So here you go, DarkTrojan on GitHub.

A pointless statistic

Bug 777882 was filed recently, so I've now been around for half of all the bugs on My first bug was 388941 (not a spectacular success).