Ninja Pirate Marksman


    0.3.32 • Public • Published


    Build Status

    Webmaker Localization Components for node.js and the browser.

    This code is heavily inspired by, and borrows from, Mozilla's i18n-abide project. However, this code has been stripped down to support only those things needed by the Webmaker tools and apps, and is based on JSON instead of PO files, uses a different form of client-side localization, etc.


    Server-Side with node.js

    Install the node.js module using npm:

    $ npm install webmaker-i18n


    There is an example Express app in the example/ directory. To run it:

    $ npm install
    $ cd example
    $ node app.js

    Now navigate to http://localhost:8000. You'll see examples of server-side and client-side usage.


    The module exposes a number of useful functions, including:


    The middleware function is used with Express. It should be placed early on in the order of your middleware functions, such that it can detect and process any extra language (i.e., language codes on the URL or accept-language header. You use it like so:

    var i18n = require('webmaker-i18n');
      supported_languages: [
        'en-US', 'th-TH', 'ru'
      default_lang: 'en-US',
      translation_directory: path.join( __dirname, 'locale' )

    This will cause the app to look for three locales on startup:

    • locale/en_US
    • locale/th_TH
    • locale/ru

    You can change the root locale directory by passing translation_directory with another path to the middleware function. Notice how the language tags have been converted to locale names (i.e., en-US becomes en_US). Each locale directory must have one file named messages.json which contains the strings for the locale.

    When middleware is used, all subsequent middleware and routes will have req and res objects with additional features. These include:

    • gettext - a function used to get a localized string for a given key
    • format - a function used to interpolate strings (see below)

    Cookie Session locale support

    If have more than one server and want to share user's preferred locale you have to setup middleware before express cookieSession() and make sure you have locale set in req.session.user.prefLocale.

    The language serving is in this order:

    1. Locale in the URL
      1. Locale in session (i.e., req.session.user.prefLocale from user's session cookie)
      1. Locale in browser's request headers

    Dynamic Mappings

    Often one wants to map locale-specific languages to a default. For example, if there are 3 locales specified for English: en-US, en-GB, en-CA. If a user requests en, we might choose to use en-US as the default. Doing such mappings is accomplished using the mappings option:

    var i18n = require('webmaker-i18n');
      supported_languages: [
        'en-US', 'en-GB', 'en-CA', 'th-TH', 'ru-RU'
      default_lang: 'en-US',
      warnings: true,
      translation_directory: path.join( __dirname, 'locale' ),
      mappings: {
        'en': 'en-US',
        'th': 'th-TH',
        'ru': 'ru-RU'

    Here 8 languages are identified, 5 locale-based, and 3 defaults with no locale. Using such mappings, users can request th or th-TH and get the same result. NOTE: no mappings are applied by default.

    warnings option is set to false by default. This option will enable language mapping console debug to see if the language that you are mapped to is successfully configured.

    Global enabling langauges

    If you are using Transifex and want to download and enable all the languages supported in your project, you can accomplish this with the following steps:

    sudo npm install -g transifex

    You will have to download all the translation files first using:

    transifex -u "user:pass" -p "<project_name>" -c "<category_name>" -d "path_to_save_files"
    • name: The name of your project on Transifex which can be found in the url slug
    • category_name: The category of your resource file(s) that you want to download for your project
    • has weblitstandard.json and which are both categorized under webmaker.

    Now all the languages in your Transifex project will be downloaded to "path_to_save_files", for example your locale directory. Each language will be stored as a locale-Country pair (i.e., en_US).

    var i18n = require('webmaker-i18n');
    app.use( i18n.middleware({
      supported_languages: ['*'],
      default_lang: 'en-US',
      translation_directory: path.join( __dirname, 'locale' ),
      mappings: {
        'en': 'en-CA'

    Note: If you set ['*'] to the supported_languages option, the language codes will be read from the specified translation directory and supported_languages will be updated with the new list. This assumes you have already downloaded or otherwise created these directories yourself. For example, if you have locale/en_US and locale/fr the list of supported languages will include en-US and fr.


    The localeInfo object contains all the locale information listed below:

    If the request comes in as "en-CA"

    • = "English (Canada)"
    • localeInfo.engName = "English (Canada)"
    • localeInfo.lang = "en-CA"
    • localeInfo.locale = "en_CA"
    • localeInfo.momentLang = "en-ca"
    • localeInfo.direction = "ltr"
    • localeInfo.langPrefs = "[ 'en', 'es' ]"
    • localeInfo.alternateLangs = "['en']"


    • localeInfo.langPrefs is returned by req.headers['accept-language']. We parse only the next preferred language from the list exluding first element in array.
    • localeInfo.alternateLangs is a list of matched supported language compared to localeInfo.langPrefs. In other words, alternateLangs is a list of other locales/langs that were specified in accept-langauge and are also supported in the current instance..


    The getStrings function is used to get an object containing all strings for a given language. This will include any strings missing from the given language, which are present in the default language.

    var ru = i18n.getStrings('ru');


    The stringsRoute is a convenience to expose getStrings as a route for Express. It takes one optional argument, the default language to use (defaults to "en-US" if missing). It can be used like so:

    app.get( "/strings/:lang?", i18n.stringsRoute( "en-US" ) );


    The gettext is expose to help get a specific string. It takes two arguement, key name and locale/language code.

    var someString = i18n.gettext("keyName", "language code or locale code here");

    Note: This gettext is the same gettext that you can use in request scope, but this will allow you to use without server is running.


    The getLocales function is used to get a list (array) of supported locale names, and matches the names of the folders that should be present in the locale/ translation directory.

    var locales = i18n.getLocales();


    The getLanguages function is used to get a list (array) of supported language names.

    var languages = i18n.getLanguages();


    The getSupportLanguages function is used to get a list (array) of supported language names based on the lang-Countries found in your translation directory.

    var languages = i18n.getSupportLanguages();


    The format function provides string interpolation, and can be used with either an object for named variables, or an array of values for positional replacement.

    // Named Example:
    i18n.format("%(salutation)s %(place)s", {salutation: "Hello", place: "World"}, true);
    // Positional Example:
    i18n.format("%s %s", ["Hello", "World"]);

    languageFrom, localeFrom

    The languageFrom and localeFrom functions convert languages to locales and vice versa.

    // en-US (language) to en_US (locale)
    var enUSlocale = localeFrom('en-US');
    // en_US (locale) to en-US language)
    var enUSlanguage = languageFrom('en_US');


    The languageNameFor function returns the language name based on the locale.

    var languageName = languageNameFor('en-US');
    // The above will return "English (US)"
    var languageName = languageNameFor('th-TH');
    // The above will return "ไทย"


    The languageEnglishName function returns the language name based on the locale in English.

    var languageName = languageEnglishName('en-US');
    // The above will return "English (US)"
    var languageName = languageEnglishName('th-TH');
    // The above will return "Thai"


    The getAllLocaleCodes function returns all locales, language name in native and English version.

    var i18n = require("webmaker-i18n");
    var allCodes = i18n.getAllLocaleCodes;
      'ta': { nativeName: 'தமிழ்', englishName: 'Tamil' },
      'ta-IN': { nativeName: 'தமிழ்', englishName: 'Tamil' },
      te: { nativeName: 'తెలుగు', englishName: 'Telugu' },
      'te-IN': { nativeName: 'తెలుగు', englishName: 'Telugu' },
      'tg-TJ': { nativeName: 'тоҷикӣ', englishName: 'Tajik' },
      'th-TH': { nativeName: 'ภาษาไทย', englishName: 'Thai' },
      tl: { nativeName: 'Filipino', englishName: 'Filipino' },
      'tl-PH': { nativeName: 'Filipino', englishName: 'Filipino' },
      'tl-ST': { nativeName: 'tlhIngan-Hol', englishName: 'Klingon' },
      'tr-TR': { nativeName: 'Türkçe', englishName: 'Turkish' },
      'tt-RU': { nativeName: 'татарча', englishName: 'Tatar' },
      'uk': { nativeName: 'Українська', englishName: 'Ukrainian' },
      'uk-UA': { nativeName: 'Українська', englishName: 'Ukrainian' }

    Client-Side in the browser

    Install the browser localized.js script using bower:

    $ bower install webmaker-i18n

    The localized.js script is usable with require.js or other AMD module loaders, and also in vanilla JavaScript. In both cases, the code assumes that the HTML page it lives in has language information stored in the HTML element:

    <!DOCTYPE html>
    <html lang="en-US" dir="ltr">
      <script src="bower_components/webmaker-i18n/localized.js"></script> 

    AMD Usage

    require(['path/to/localized'], function(localized) {
      // Don't do anything until the DOM + localized strings are ready
        var someText = localized.get('some key');

    Forcing Localized on the Global

    In some cases, it might be desirable to have the localized object placed on the global (e.g., window) even though requirejs is present in the page. This can be accomplished by assigning true to window.__LOCALIZED_IGNORE_REQUIREJS.

    Global Usage

    If you aren't using an AMD loader like require.js, the object will get added to the global:

    // Don't do anything until the DOM + localized strings are ready
      var someText = localized.get('some key');

    Localized members

    The localized.js script exposes a number of functions:

    • ready - a function that initializes the strings (i.e., downloads) on the client-side. A callback should be passed, as well as any desired options, which include noCache (whether to do cache busting, default is no) and url (the url end-point to use to call getStrings -- see above, default is '/strings/'). If the url is an absolute URL beginning in "http", the URL will not be processed in any way. Otherwise, URLs get extra language info added (e.g., /strings/[lang]) based on what is in the HTML element's lang attribute.
    function readyCallback() {
     // Safe to use localized.get() now...
    var options = { noCache: true, url: '/localized' }
    localized.ready(options, readyCallback);
    // NOTE: you could also call it like so:
    // localized.ready(function(){...}); with no options.
    • getCurrentLang - a function that returns the current language defined in the HTML element of the page.
    <html lang="th-TH" dir="ltr">
      var lang = localized.getCurrentLang();
      // lang === 'th-TH'
    var momentJSLang = langToMomentJSLang('en-US');
    // The above will return "en"
    var momentJSLang = langToMomentJSLang('th-TH');
    // The above will return "th"
    var momentJSLang = langToMomentJSLang('en-CA');
    // The above will return "en-ca"
    • get - a function that gets the localized version of a given string key. Must be called after ready has completed so that the localized strings are loaded.
      var localized = localized.get('some string key');



    npm i webmaker-i18n

    DownloadsWeekly Downloads






    Last publish


    • aali
    • mozillafoundation