RTL, i18n, L10n and Django

Right to left, Internationalization and localization of web and Django apps

Define: BiDi

BiDi, or bi-directional
text containing right to left and left to right strings
BiDi support
correct display of text with mixed directions

Hello world, מה שלומך today ?

שלום עולם, how are you היום ?

Define: RTL

Define: i18n, L10n

i18n: Internationalisation
Translation to various languages.
L10n: Localization

Adapt to various locales and regions:

12.23.2009 23.12.2009
-1,234.56 -1.234,56

RTL in web apps

With CSS and overriding. Don't hardcode:

<div style="margin-left: 10pt">


<div class="with-margin">
.with-margin { margin-left:10pt }
.rtl .with-margin {
    margin-left:0; margin-right: 10pt

Overriding with CSS: take 1

Sheet for one direction, override in another.

/* myapp.css */
.with-margin { margin-left:10pt }

/* myapp_rtl.css */
.with-margin { margin:0 10pt 0 0 }

in html pseudo code

<link href="myapp.css" />
<link href="myapp_rtl.css" /> <!-- if bidi -->

Overriding with CSS: take 2

Single css file and attribute selectors:

<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml"
    lang="he" xml:lang="he" dir="rtl">

in css:

.with-margin { margin-left:10pt; text-align:left }
html[dir=rtl] .with-margin {
  margin:0 10pt 0 0;
  text-align: right

Overriding with CSS: take 3

IE6 sucks, no attribute selectors - single css file utilizing class selectors:

<body class="with-rtl">

in css:

.with-margin { margin-left:10pt }
body.with-rtl .with-margin { margin:0 10pt 0 0 }

Images and RTL

Provide mirrored images for RTL, override in stylesheet and templates:

<div class="arrow">Hello</div>




Styles to override

Direction marker

Finally 2 html entities, &rlm; and &lrm; to enforce direction on neutral characters.

{{ user }}, {{ date_published }}

What happens when all text in an element is in the other direction ? See the list:

מאיר, 10.2.2009
meir, 10.2.2009
יוסף, 13.3.2009

Direction marker, continued

The comma and space are neutral, direction markers force desired direction, e.g for RTL:

{{ user }}&rlm;, {{ date_published }}

Now ordering is correct:

מאיר, 10.2.2009
meir‏, 10.2.2009
יוסף, 13.3.2009

Django and i18n


LANGUAGE_CODE = 'he' # default language
USE_I18N = True      # default
) # default

To disable i18n:

USE_I18N = False   # short-circuit translations

Always mark for translation

Always mark text for translation, even if single language app right now.

If text isn't translated, it'll fall back to the string itself.

{% trans "Hello" %} {{ username }}

Without translation {"username":"foo"}:

Hello foo

Translation in templates

Simple strings

{% load i18n %}
{% trans "Hello" %} {{ user }}

Text with variables

{% load i18n %}

{% blocktrans %}
Hello {{ user }}, last login at {{ login_date }}.
{% endblocktrans %}

Translation in templates

Single and plural

{% load i18n %}

{% blocktrans %}
You have {{ incoming.count }} new message.
{% plural %}
You have {{ incoming.count }} new messages.
{% endblocktrans %}

Translation in code

ugettxt_lazy() vs ugettext()

ugettext_lazy, e.g models.py

from django.utils.translation import \
      ugettext_lazy as _
from django.db import models

class page(models.Model):

    title = models.CharField( _('Title'),
      help_text=_('Page title')

    class Meta:
        verbose_name = _('Page')
        verbose_name_plural = _('Pages')

ugettext, e.g views:

from django.utils.translation import ugettext as _

def welcome(request):
    msg = _('Welcome back')
    return HttpResponse(msg)

@login required
def welcome_with_name(request):

    msg = _('Hello %(name)s, welcome back') % \
       { 'name': request.user }
    return HttpResponse(msg)

Message files - create

Create and update message files

A locale dir is required, recommended in the app dir.

$ django-admin.py makemessages -l he

By default uses html extension for templates, can specify others:

$ django-admin.py makemessages \
  -e html,txt,xml -l he

Message files - Edit

Edit message files:

Message files - compile

Compile message files

$ django-admin.py compilemessages -l he

Reload the server

Django's dev server won't reload after compiling, restart it for your sanity.

Coming to Django near you

Reusable helper apps

Some reusable apps for multilingual and bidi sites

Unique URLs


django-localeurl provides a middleware which:



django-multilingual provides database translations

class Category(models.Model):
    parent = models.ForeignKey('self', \
            blank=True, null=True)

    class Translation(multilingual.Translation):
        name = models.CharField(max_length=50)

    def __unicode__(self):
        "Returns correct name for active lang"
        return self.name


django-bidi-utils, language direction related context processor and filter. Before:

<html dir="{{LANGUAGE_BIDI|yesno:"rtl,ltr"}}">


<html dir="{{LANGUAGE_DIRECTION}}">

Now what ?