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Jekyll i18n


As the friendly neighborhood web developer at MUJIN, one of my responsibilities is our company’s website. I made this site mostly by myself using jekyll, the static website generator that github uses for github pages by default.

Jekyll is pretty awesome, but doesn’t support internationalization which we obviously need as a Japanese company. I got something really simple working with jekyll-multiple-languages-plugin, but I wasn’t happy with it. The translation index had to be manually kept which was a giant pain (especially since non-technical people edit content on the site).

As a long time django user, I really like the way it handles internationalization, namely the fact that the translation index was automatically updated as people edited content in the standard gettext .po file format.

I endeavored to create such a solution for jekyll using ruby, something I was completely unfamiliar with. I learned some ruby basics, how rvm and RubyGems work, and finally leveraged the existing libraries get_pomo and fast_gettext which did a lot of the heavy lifting for me. You can read more about how to actually use my library over on github.

I rounded out our internationalization solution by using the Accept-Language header to redirect users to the website in their browser’s language (but still be able to override it by going to specific language endpoints). Here is the section from .htaccess:

RewriteEngine On

RewriteCond %{HTTP:Accept-Language} ^en.*$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^/$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} !(^q\=) [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /en/ [L,R=302]

RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} ^/$ [NC]
RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} !(^q\=) [NC]
RewriteRule ^(.*)$ /ja [L,R=302]

Tags: Web development | Ruby | Jekyll | I18n

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Lucas DoyleWritten by Lucas Doyle, a robotics engineer who does a lot of web development in San Francisco.