(old) PO files handling tools
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README

.. role:: code(strong)
.. role:: file(emphasis)

========================
README file for po-utils
========================

PO utilities is meant to become a collection of tools for handling PO
files.  Until there is a real Texinfo manual for it, the documentation
is kept in this :file:`README`.

What are these PO and POT things?
=================================

There is an on-going effort so programs are made to comply with national
differences, like the way of writing dates, currency, decimal number
notations, and such things.  The preparation of programs towards this
goal is called *internationalisation* (or *i18n* for short), and the
on-the-fly adjustment of an already internationalised program to a
particular set of habits is called *localisation* (or *l10n* for short).
Each particular set of habits for a given nation is called a *locale*.

One important aspect of internationalisation is that programs should be
able to write their messages and diagnostics in more than one language.
This aspect is particularly demanding because, contrarily to other
aspects of a *locale* which are set once and for all, program messages
have to be translated separately for every programs, as original
messages differ.

A PO file is a pivoting point between maintainers of internationalised
programs and various national translators.  Each particular PO file
holds, for a given package, the original program messages needing
translation, and the translation of each of these messages into a
given national language.  That is, there is usually one PO file per
package-language combination.  A PO file containing only original
messages, and empty strings instead of translations, is called a PO
template, or POT file.  Translators usually begin with a POT file, and
turn it into a PO file by adding translations.

While a package is being internationalised, each string used in the
program is considered, and those who might need translation are
specially marked.  Some editing tools (like :code:`PO mode` in Emacs)
have the purpose of easing that tedious marking task.  Then, other tools
(like :code:`xpot`, :code:`pygettext` or :code:`xgettext`) have the purpose of
scanning a set of marked sources, and collecting all marked strings into
a POT file.  This POT file is given to translators, who add translations
(:code:`PO mode` is helpful here as well).  Each resulting PO file is
compiled into an MO file (using :code:`msgfmt`) for faster access, and
installed together with the package.  When the installed package runs
in a given locale, one installed MO file is selected according to the
language of the user, and used to obtain the translated version of
messages and diagnostics, as needed.

:code:`PO mode`
===============

File :file:`po-mode.el` implements a set of Emacs editing functions for
PO files.  It can be used by maintainers to mark translatable strings in
a set of sources, or by translators to add or revise translations in a
PO file.  The main documentation is currently part of the manual which
comes in the :code:`gettext` distribution.

:code:`xpot`
============

Introduction
------------

This tool produces a PO template file on standard output, given a
collection of source files.  It currently handles C, C++, Emacs LISP,
and Python sources, as well as from pre-existing PO files.  It is meant
to handle Awk, Perl or shell scripts, when everything will be ready for
these.  And in fact, anything that could help internationalisation.

To find out the language of a program, :code:`xpot` looks for hints
in the extension of the file name, or else, in the contents of the
first two lines of the file, looking for ``#!PATH/env PROGRAM``,
``#!PATH/PROGRAM``, ``-*-mode:MODE-*-`` or ``-*-MODE-*-`` in the first
two lines.

:code:`xpot` is itself written in C, Flex and Bison, and I would expect it
to be rather fast even for big projects.  This is an alpha version.

Options
-------

One option to :code:`xpot` allows for automatic extraction of all doc
strings, which never need explicit marking in either Emacs LISP or
Python, for this reason.  Translation of doc string might be useful in
highly interactive programs, giving access to interpreter facilities.

Emacs LISP
----------

Mule files, when a character uses many bytes, may not be analysed
correctly.

Python
------

Adjacent strings (those only separated by whitespace or comments) are
correctly concatenated at extraction time.  Strings are considered
translatable if they are used within _(STRING) or gettext(STRING)
constructs, other keywords may be added, of course.

To palliate the lack of a pre-processor, strings which translation
should be delayed may be marked as translatable by using one of the
following special constructs, which are already valid Python::

   ''"text"        ''r"text"
   ""'text'        ""r'text'
   ''"""text"""    ''r"""text"""
   ""'''text'''    ""r'''text'''

Doc strings, if their extraction has been selected, should be correctly
found even after very complex initialisation of keyword parameters.