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User-side translation for ruby apps, persistence is yours
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babylonia Dependency Status

Let there be languages for your users!


In your gemfile

gem "babylonia"

Or via the gem command

gem install babylonia

For Rails

Try babylonia-rails


Out of the necessity to let users translate page content. This gem does not add columns or records to your tables, or tables to your database. It is implemented based on YAML and stores the given data in a string.

Persistence is all yours

Persistence is all yours. There will be a string for you to store, and you should just make sure it can get stored. That means that depending on the count of languages you let your users handle, and on the length of strings you expect to put them in, you should have a look at the different TEXT types your storage offers. A mysql TEXT field can soon run out of space (it takes up to 21,844 characters), but a MEDIUMTEXT e.g. is pretty gigantic and should keep the crocodiles out of your sewers.


Since the entire string will get stored in one field, you'll have to stop and ask yourself a question: Do you want to do database queries on the data in different languages? (like, let's say, sort by the translation users put in as an english translation for the field) If yes, it might be better for you to take a column based approach.

Basic Usage

Let's assume a pretty basic class. Extend it with the Babylonian Class method

class Transsylvania
  extend Babylonia::ClassMethods
  attr_accessor :text
  #now, build that tower
  build_babylonian_tower_on :text

Now, do this:

t =
I18n.locale = :en
t.text = 'Pretty french, ist es nicht?'
I18n.locale = :de
t.text #=> nil
I18n.locale = :en
t.text #=> 'Pretty french, ist es nicht?'

Or this:

t.text = {en: 'This is english', fr: 'This is french'}
I18n.locale = :fr
t.text #=> 'This is french'

Virtual Attributes

There are virtual attributes for you to work with

t =
t.text_de = 'Make it more Deutsch'
t.text_de #=> 'Make it more Deutsch'

They come in especially handy in forms, since they do not(!) use a fallback unless used with `fallback: true`

<form action="/do" method="POST">
  <label for="english_translation">
    English Translation Here Please
    <input type="text" name="text_de" value="<%= form_object.text_en %>"/>
  <label for="deutsche_uebersetzung">
    Deutsche Übersetzung hier
    <input type="text" name="text_de" value="<%= form_object.text_de %>"/>
  <input type="submit" name="Go"/>

Extended Usage

Let's once assume a pretty basic class. Extend it with the Babylonian Class method and add some options

class Transsylvania
  attr_accessor :text, :name

  extend Babylonia::ClassMethods

  def some_locale

  def locale

  #now, build that tower
  build_babylonian_tower_on :text, :name,
                            locale: :some_locale, # will call the method some_locale on the instance
                            default_locale: lambda {|instance, field| field == :text ? instance.locale : :de}, #will get evaluated at runtime
                            fallback: false #=> will not fallback to default locale if no translation for locale is present
                            placeholder: "<span class='translation missing'>Translation missing in Transsylvania</span>" a placeholder if no translation is present

Neat Helpers

Got to have helpers to build that tower with: These come with every babylonian tower built:

t =
t.locale #=> returns the current locale
t.locales #=> returns every locale present in each(!) translated field
t.has_locale?(locale) #=> returns true if all(!) fields are translated in that locale
t.available_locales #=> returns the locales available for translation, but not necessarily present in each translated field
t.has_available_locale? #=> returns true if a locale is available for translation
t.default_locale #=> returns the current default locale
t.locale_fallback? #=> returns true if the translations will fall back to the default locale
t.missing_translation_placeholder(field) #=> Returns a placeholder for missing translation for field, if defined
t.localized?(attribute) #=> returns if attribute is localized

Contributing to babylonia

  • Check out the latest master to make sure the feature hasn't been implemented or the bug hasn't been fixed yet.

  • Check out the issue tracker to make sure someone already hasn't requested it and/or contributed it.

  • Fork the project.

  • Start a feature/bugfix branch.

  • Commit and push until you are happy with your contribution.

  • Make sure to add tests for it. This is important so I don't break it in a future version unintentionally.

  • Make sure to add documentation for it. This is important so everyone else can see what your code can do.

  • Please try not to mess with the Rakefile, version, or history. If you want to have your own version, or is otherwise necessary, that is fine, but please isolate to its own commit so I can cherry-pick around it.


Copyright © 2013 Beat Richartz. See LICENSE.txt for further details.

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