Elm-ui-translate (proof of concept)

I’ve been thinking about the topic of translations, especially in the context of elm-ui.

What I’ve come up with is a proof of concept API that is an almost drop in replacement for elm-ui (except for text nodes).

The main difference is that Element msg is replaced with context -> Element msg, so that when you’re building strings that need to be localized you can retrieve data from the context object. The context is passed around implicitly with row, column, and other containers, and is accessible to attributes and text nodes.

Example API:

type alias ElementC context msg = context -> ( Element msg, Element context )
type alias AttributeC context msg = context -> Attribute msg
row : List (AttributeC context msg) -> List (ElementC context msg) -> ElementC context msg
padding : Int -> AttributeC context msg
invariantText : String -> ElementC context msg -- Untranslated text

layout : context -> List (AttributeC context msg) -> ElementC context msg -> Html msg

Example view:

innerView : Model -> Element Msg
innerView model =
    Element.column [ Element.spacing 10, Element.padding 10 ]
        [ Element.invariantText <| String.fromInt model.count
        , Element.row [ Element.spacing 10 ]
            [ Input.button []
                { onPress = Just Inc
                , label = Element.text .inc (\l10n inc -> { l10n | inc = inc })
            , Input.button []
                { onPress = Just Dec
                , label = Element.text .dec (\l10n dec -> { l10n | dec = dec })
        , case model.lang of
            En ->
                Input.button []
                    { onPress = Just <| Lang It
                    , label = Element.invariantText "🇮🇹 Italiano"

            It ->
                Input.button []
                    { onPress = Just <| Lang En
                    , label = Element.invariantText "🇺🇸/🇬🇧 English"

This looks reasonable, except for one detail: why does text ask for setters too?
That’s the other interesting feature: you can reuse the same view code, by “linking” it with a special version of the library to have a “translatable” version of your application, where texts are replaced by Input.text and instead of an Html msg you receive an Html context.

translationLayout : context -> List (AttributeC context msg) -> ElementC context msg -> Html context

This means that you can have a toggle between a “working” view and a “translating” view.

For more details check out the repository, you can run elm reactor either in the root for the “production” website, or in the translator directory for the “translatable” website.


Am I correct in understanding that the “translating” view could be used by a translator to update your apps translations?

Really though, this looks amazing!

Yes, that’s the idea! You can update the translation “in context”, while seeing how it’s used


the “in context translation” thing looks very interesting. What is the format of the output of this “translator”?

Right now there isn’t a “format”. If I were to use it for my projects I’d probably make it output Elm records for the production build. The code is completely generic on context so you can do whatever you want

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