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Recent posts

New in Web Translate It: easy integration to public Github projects

Posted by Edouard on 9 février 2010

I just pushed a new feature to Web Translate It that will make it really easy to translate an open-source project hosted on Github.

Have it your way

There are many ways to update or sync your language files with Web Translate It.

On the File Manager, you can now specify the path to a language file hosted online.

You can use this new feature to link to any file accessible by HTTP, like a RAW file hosted on github.

Tick the “Check for updates periodically” checkbox and we will check for updates on this file daily. If there are new strings to translate, Web Translate It will send you an e-mail to let you know.

One more thing

We also have a post-receive URL that will check for updates on your file every time you push code to your github repository.

For more information, please refer to the documentation.

If you are not using github, you can still use this feature, as long as the language files are accessible via HTTP (using trac or gitweb for example). You can also use the post-receive URL feature, which works with every SCM.

I hope you will find this new feature useful. It makes it really easy to maintain translations of an open-source project hosted on github, and I hope it will help improving the translation quality of open-source projects.

Thank you for using Web Translate It.

New in Web Translate It: Improved Comments and String History

Posted by Edouard on 1 février 2010

I just deployed a few improvements on the commenting system and on the string history page.

Improved Comments

On the project page

Comments on the project page are now grouped by thread, with the most recent comments on top.

Commenting on a string now creates a new “forum thread”, and viewing your comments and understanding how your project is going is much clearer.

But that’s not all: the comment’s status is also flagged for each thread: red if the thread has an answered question, blue if the thread has unread comments.

When you click on the link to read a comment, it will bring you to the comments section in the String History page, instead of on a specific comment page.

Comment your project

One new feature is the ability to comment on the project itself (as opposed as commenting on a string). When you click on “Post a comment” on the project page, a form appears.

This will be really useful to discuss about the projects without having to go to a third-party communication system.

Improved String History

The string history really needed some improvements. It just got more useful. It is now divided into 3 parts.

Latest translation

Which basically show you the latest translation made. From there, you can also translate and proofread the string.


A list of comments made on the string.


These are the changes in your translations over time. What’s new here is that the interface now displays the exact difference between the current version and the previous version. For example unproofread → proofread.

I hope you will enjoy this fresh round of improvements. Thank you for using Web Translate It!

New in Web Translate It: Public projects for crowd-sourcing!

Posted by Edouard on 26 janvier 2010

I just rolled out a new version of Web Translate It. Projects can now be open to the public. This is useful for crowd-sourcing!

Reworked project homepage

If you visit your project pages, you will notice it has been reworked quite a bit.

The activity feed has been moved to a dedicated tab, and the project home page now feature a list of the latest comments made on the project.

New settings

There are also a few new options in the project settings.

You can now put a description for your project and a link to your project homepage. The description is formatted using Markdown, so you’re not bound to write a description here: you can use this field to give general instructions to the translation team, or anything else you think can be useful.

Private and public projects — Crowdsourcing

And this… Well this is a bigger thing. You can now make your project public and browsable by everyone. By default, new and existing projects are set to private, and to be able to translate or comment on your project, users will have to request an invitation.

It seems to be a little change (it was definitely not!), but it is actually the first step to use Web Translate It to crowd-source your project’s translations. It is only the first step, and that was a tough one.

It is also great for Open-Source projects to improve their visibility.

How does it work?

This is your project page you can see if you’re a project member.

If you make the project public, this is what everyone else will see. You can actually see it by yourself here.

In order to join the translation team, the user will have to request an invitation to the project manager. The user can do so by clicking on the invitation link.

You can directly your users to the invitation request page and provide their e-mail address in the URL, too. For instance: https://webtranslateit.com/projects/244-VLC-unofficial-/invitation_request?email=john.doe@webtranslateit.com

When the project manager will have accepted the invitation, the user will be able to translate the project.

This is really the simplest solution that could possibly work for this issue. This workflow will work fine for projects until you reach 3 translators per language. If your user base is very much larger than this and hundreds of users want to join the translation team (lucky you!), you will need a more advanced system to handle vandalisms, translation suggestions, and so on. I will progressively improve this feature in time with a voting system.

I hope you will find this new feature useful. Thank you for using Web Translate It.

New in Web Translate It: leaner interface

Posted by Edouard on 19 janvier 2010

I just pushed a new version of Web Translate It. This new version include a couple improvements as well as a few bug fixes.

Redesigned action buttons on the translation interface

The action buttons on the translate page were only visible when hovering the string. While it was great for reviewing strings, several users reported it was a bit confusing. Besides, the comment button was lacking too much visibility.

So I redesigned these action buttons. The goal was for them to gain enough attention, while staying fairly invisible to afford a comfortable reviewing of the strings.

The buttons were a bit jammed in the upper right corner. I gave them some more padding to give them some more importance. I also made them bolder, while making them more greyer. The result is that the buttons are more noticeable while being less visible.

When hovering, the buttons gain some more contrast, making them more visible.

I think it is a good trade-off. I will tweak this up more in the upcoming releases, please let me know if you have any comments.

Leaner Web Translate It

493,29KB. That’s how much Web Translate It did weight before this release.

The big guy was the Javascript framework PrototypeJS with Scriptaculous, served via Google AJAX API. The Javascript framework is served non minified by Google and was totalling 345KB. Ouch!

318,77KB. That’s how much it weights now. That’s still quite a bit but it’s 200KB less already, without removing any feature.


I switched the Prototype + Scriptaculous Javascript framework (345KB not minified) to the latest jQuery, which is served minified by Google: 68KB.

I had to rewrite all the Javascript front-end to make it work with jQuery but it worth it: everything is much simpler, and I killed a few bugs along the way. It is very likely you will notice some micro-improvements when using Web Translate It.

Improvement on Web Translate It: better YAML importer

Posted by Edouard on 14 janvier 2010

Today I improved and launched a new parser for the importer used for YAML files on Web Translate It. The previous parser was buggy and inefficient.

The default Ruby on Rails implementation for i18n, so-called “Simple” use YAML to store its files.

A YAML file looks like so:

    key: value
    # a comment
    hello: bonjour

The YAML parser used until today was home-made. It used to browse every line in the YAML file, extracted keys, values and comments.

Really good YAML parsers exist for pretty much every language, but they don’t allow me to extract comments and display them on the translation interface, and it was a no-go when I implemented this feature.

My parser was working fine with really simple YAML files. In practice many customers had problems importing their YAML files because my parser did not support some edge-cases.

As Web Translate It grows, a few more customers needed to be able to import YAML files. As a consequence, last night and today a few more import jobs failed for a customer. I am really sorry about that.

Being able to actually import YAML files is obviously more important that being able to extract comments. On top of that, my parser had become incredibly complex and I felt I would not be able to fix the issue in a simple way, and to maintain a such hullabaloo.

So I switched to the vanilla ruby YAML parser, which not only parses files really well, but also parses them really fast. The only downside is that it is not possible to extract and import comments from the YAML file any longer.

A note of caution with YAML

Be cautious when writing copy in your YAML file because everything your write in the file is interpreted by the parser (by your application as well as by Web Translate It). Words like true, false, yes, no are interpreted as the booleans True or False by YAML parsers.

Consider this YAML file:

    true: foo
    false: bar
    yes: baz
    no: boo

It will be interpreted as:

    true: foo
    false: bar

Because yes == true and false == no in YAML, the parser consider the compounds yes: baz and no: boo duplicate respectively true: foo and false: bar. If you must use yes and no as keys, wrap them around quotes, like so:

    true: foo
    false: bar
    "yes": baz
    "no": boo

Same goes for the value. This:

    a_key: yes
    b_key: no

will be interpreted as:

    a_key: true
    b_key: false

So wrap them around quotes:

    true: "yes"
    false: "no"

Thank you for your patience with this issue, and thank you for using Web Translate It.