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Introduction to Po4a

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The goal of po4a (PO for anything) project is to ease translations (and more interestingly, the maintenance of translations) using gettext tools on areas where they were not expected like documentation.

In po4a each documentation format is handled by a module. Presently, we have a module for the following formats:

  • asciidoc: AsciiDoc format.
  • dia: uncompressed Dia diagrams.
  • docbook: DocBook XML.
  • guide: Gentoo Linux's XML documentation format.
  • halibut: Simon Tatham's documentation production system.
  • ini: INI format.
  • kernelhelp: Help messages of each kernel compilation option.
  • latex: LaTeX format.
  • bibtex: bibtex format.
  • man: Good old manual page format.
  • pod: Perl Online Documentation format.
  • sgml: either DebianDoc or DocBook DTD.
  • texinfo: The info page format.
  • tex: generic TeX documents (see also latex).
  • text: simple text document.
  • wml: WML documents.
  • xhtml: XHTML documents.
  • xml: generic XML documents (see also docbook).
  • yaml: YAML documents.
  • rubydoc: RubyDoc (RD) documents.


To install this module type the following:

   perl Build.PL
   ./Build install


po4a is particularly welcoming contributions from the community. If you are new to Open Source, we'd love to mentor you for your first contributions. Please see the CONTRIBUTING file to see how you could help.

Use without installation

If you want to use a version without installing it (e.g. directly from the git tree), use the PERLLIB environment variable as such:

   PERLLIB=~/git-checkouts/po4a/lib ~/git-checkouts/po4a/po4a-gettextize [usual args]

Po4a dependencies

  • Locale::gettext (v1.01)

    This module being itself internationalized, it needs the Locale::gettext library to translate its own messages. If it is not present, then po4a's messages won't be translated, but po4a will remain fully functional.

  • Text::WrapI18N

    This module is used to format po4a's warnings and error messages. It permits to wrap long error messages without splitting words. If it is not present, the formatting of messages will be different, but po4a will remain fully functional.

  • Term::ReadKey

    This module is used to retrieve the terminal's line width. It is not used if Text::WrapI18N is not available. If it is not present, the line width can be specified with the COLUMN environment variable.

SGML module specific dependencies

  • SGMLS (1.03ii)

    This is a set of Perl5 routines for processing the output from the onsgmls SGML parser.

  • opensp (1.5.2) OpenJade group's SGML parsing tools

    This is the SGML parser we use.

  • docbook: used in the tests. Without this package, the test fails with:

    onsgmls:<OSFD>0:1:59:W: cannot generate system identifier for public text "-//OASIS//DTD DocBook V4.1//EN"
    onsgmls:<OSFD>0:6:0:E: reference to entity "REFENTRY" for which no system identifier could be generated
    onsgmls:<OSFD>0:1:0: entity was defined here
    onsgmls:<OSFD>0:6:0:E: DTD did not contain element declaration for document type name
    po4a::sgml: Error while running onsgmls -p.  Please check if onsgmls and the DTD are installed.

    You don't need it if you don't want to run the tests.

Text module specific dependencies

YAML module specific dependencies

  • YAML::Tiny

    This module is used to parse and serialize the YAML file.

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Copyright and license

This program is free software; you may redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of GPL (see COPYING file).

Copyright © 2002-2022 by SPI, inc.