New i18n interface for KDE 4, second try

Chusslove Illich caslav.ilic at
Fri Oct 28 14:19:35 BST 2005

> [: Nicolas Goutte :]
> As nobody has commented yet, I think that it is my turn. :-)

No need to wait ;)

>> [: Chusslove Illich :]
>> [...] there can also exist a set of simple templates which mimick
>> variable argument list, so that this can be used:
>> i18n("Blah, blah: %1 %2", foo, bar); // ordinary
>> i18nc("This is for...", "Blah, blah: %1 %2", foo, bar); // context
>> i18np("One thingy with %1", "%n thingies with %1", n, whatnot); // plur
> [: Nicolas Goutte :]
> I would be careful such a solution.
> First it is going back into printf and friends. Probably you will force
> the parameters to be strings to avoid printf-like problems but then it
> makes the solution less flexible [...]

Say, when compiler encounters:

i18n("Blah, blah: %1 %2", foo, bar);

it will match the call to this particular template:

class KTrString {
  template <typename A1, typename A2>
  friend i18n (const char *text, const A1 &a1, const A2 &a2) {

Since this template is defined inline, and is simple enough, compiler will 
inline it, so the original call will be compiled as:

KTrString("Blah, blah: %1 %2").arg(foo).arg(bar).toString();

Thus, no loss of flexibility. Minus .toString() finalization, this would be 
same as what QString's arg() methods do (KTrString's ones just record the 
parameters additionally).

>> [: Chusslove Illich :]
>> Templates would be declared up to some limited number of arguments
>> [...] I found seven messages with more than %8, two with more than %10.
> [: Nicolas Goutte :]
> But what is the drawback (code length, time) to always handle 10 QString
> objects? 

The previous apply, there is no extra here, as calls are inlined.

> (Qt has defined at QString::arg for at most 4 QStrings, so probably
> there is a reason.)

This is only for an odd situation where an argument itself contains a 
placeholder. Eg.:

QString foo = "Hey, %1!";
QString bar = "what";
QString msg = QString("%1 and %2?").arg(foo).arg(bar);

Then msg would become "Hey, what! and %2?", because bar would replace the 
placeholder from foo. Instead, if the call is:

QString msg = QString("%1 and %2").arg(foo, bar);

The result would be "Hey, %1! and what?".

Depends what one wants...

> The similarity between these 3 functions' names [i18n, i18nc, i18np]
> makes that a missed letter or a typo, makes the result in the PO(T)
> file quite different. That could lead to a nightmare for translators
> if there are many of such entries to be corrected (even more if it is
> at message-freeze time).

Before translators, it is actually a problem for programmers themselves. 
For example, when giving context, if they forget to specify correct call 

i18n("This is entry in menu Session", "New");

the result would be that in runtime it shows "This is entry in menu 
Session" instead of "New" :) And a warning message about too many 
parameters would appear in the shell output.

So, I thought this is not a problem because programmers themselves would 
see the error when they run the program. But now another scenario occured 
to me: what if someone just adds a comment at a later point? Hey, just a 
comment, no biggy, why check that part of GUI again? *But*, if again the 
change in call name is forgotten... How big a problem this really is, any 
way to automatically avoid it?

> Note if it is QString::arg which makes problems, so that you do not want
> a KI18N::arg, then perhaps give it another name like KI18n::param:
> i18n("Foo %1").param("Bar");
> i18n_plural("A Foo %1", "%n Foos %1", count).param("Bar");
> i18n_context("FooContext", "Foo %1").param("Bar");
> [...] it [also] allows to keep the i18n() for all three names.

It is not a problem with the name of argument addition method, but what 
would convert the KTrString into a QString then? In non-inherited case, 
like here, one needs an extra method for that (toString); in inherited 
case, it happens automatically by upcasting, but the possibility to check 
if enough arguments have been supplied is lost, and there are those hacks 

> Note: I would avoid Tr in the name, as we are using Gettext and not
> Qt's translation system.

This naming thing is getting ridiculous, why not just call it 
KRainDeerString or something (*zhwanggg*) Ok, how about KLocaleString?

Chusslove Illich (Часлав Илић)
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