An example Kraken app showing off internationalization support
Latest commit b2fcd32 Jan 29, 2016 @grawk grawk Merge pull request #5 from krakenjs/feature.upgrade.makara.construx
converting to construx dev middleware and makara content configuration

Kraken example with.i18n

An example kraken 1.0 app with i18n (internationalization).

What is i18n/internationalization

Internationalization is the designing and re-engineering of a product so that it can be localized easily for global markets. In the context of kraken-1.0, including i18n would mean, to optionally decorate an express app to consume pre-localized templates (production mode), or localize templates on-the-fly (dev mode). By adding the appropriate i18n and view engine configs for your kraken 1.0 app, content bundles will be automatically loaded from a specific location and templates that require translation will get localized. Currently i18n is only supported for dustjs templates.

What does the example demonstrate ?

The sample app demonstrates how to enable i18n in your app. It has simple support for localization in 3 different languages.

  • en-US
  • es-ES
  • de-DE

How to setup the app with i18n from scratch by using generator-kraken ?

Create a simple scaffolded app using generator-kraken

  • Install Generator
$ npm install -g generator-kraken

  • Create an app using the generator
$ yo kraken

hh  / _  _ \
    |(@)(@)|   Release the Kraken!
    )  __  (
  (( ((  )) ))
   `\ `)(' /'

Tell me a bit about your application:

[?] Name: foo
[?] Description: bar
[?] Author: foobar
[?] Template library? Dust
[?] CSS preprocessor library? LESS
[?] JavaScript library? None

Setting up the right configs for i18n in the app

  • Check the config/config.json file. You must see the following config for i18n.
"i18n": {
    "contentPath": "path:./locales",
    "fallback": "en-US"

contentPath refers to the default path where the localization files reside, fallback is the default locale in case there is no specific locale for a request.

  • Check the view engines setup. You must see the following config for view engines.
"view engines": {
     "js": {
         "module": "engine-munger",
         "renderer": {
             "method": "js",
             "arguments": [
                 { "cache": true },
                     "views": "config:express.views",
                     "view engine": "config:express.view engine",
                     "i18n": "config:i18n"

The above config tells the express app to use the function returned by the method js provided by the module engine-munger, as its engine function. arguments array gets passed while invoking js. engine-munger module helps add i18n into the render work-flow for your views. You can read more about engine-munger here.

Similarly in your development.json, make sure you have a config like the following:

"view engines": {
    "dust": {
        "module": "engine-munger",
        "renderer": {
            "method": "dust",
            "arguments": [
                { "cache": false },
                    "views": "config:express.views",
                    "view engine": "config:express.view engine",
                    "i18n": "config:i18n"

Localizing your templates

Lets demo adding a greeting and message localization in your index.dust

  • Adding @pre tags to your index.dust to specify what to translate in your view.
    <h1>{@pre type="content" key="greeting"/}</h1>
    <h4>{@pre type="content" key="message"/}</h4>
  • Adding localization aka .properties files

In kraken 1.0 projects, the localized files have the extension .properties and translations are expressed as simple key value pairs, To demonstrate greeting and message translation for your index.dust for three different locales: en-US, es-ES and de-DE:

  • create locales/US/en/ and add:
greeting=Hello, {name}!
message=Time is precious...
  • create locales/ES/es/ and add:
greeting=Hola, {name}!
message=El tiempo es precioso...
  • create locales/DE/de/ and add:
greeting=Hallo, {name}!
message=Zeit ist kostbar...

You may have already noticed that we add the .properies files to locales/ folder because we set the contentPath in the i18n config above as locales/.

Checking the default locale translation in your app

Now when you start the app by doing $ node . and point your browser to localhost:8000 you will see index.dust rendered in the fallback locale en-US per our i18n config.

Adding a hook to set the locale on the fly

  • In your routes.js add the following route and controller code
router.get('/setLocale/:locale', function (req, res) {
    res.cookie('locale', req.params.locale);
  • In your config.json add the following for setting the locale in the res.localsof your express app by reading it from cookie.
"locale": {
    "priority": 95,
    "enabled": true,
    "module": {
        "name": "path:./lib/locale"

The reason above middleware has a priority of 95 is it needs to happen after the cookie parse middleware has executed (which inside kraken-js has a priority of 90.)

  • Set up the middleware in the path specified in the above config to read locale from cookie, and setting it in the res.locals. So add the file lib/locale.js and the following snippet into the file:
'use strict';
module.exports = function () {
    return function (req, res, next) {
        var locale = req.cookies && req.cookies.locale;
        //Set the locality for this response. The template will pick the appropriate bundle
        res.locals.context = {
            locality: locale

That is it!!! You are done!

Installation of this demo

Clone, install and run.

git clone
cd kraken-examples-with-i18n
npm install
npm start

See it working with different locales:

In your browser, visit http://localhost:8000/setLocale/en-US or http://localhost:8000/setLocale/es-ES or http://localhost:8000/setLocale/de-DE

This will automatically set the locale and redirect to the index page in the right locale.

Now if you would like to see it work in production mode with compiled templates:

grunt build
NODE_ENV=production node .

And repeat 1 and 2.