[Cartoweb-users] Confused about .po files

Chris Duncan, GISmatters duncan at gismatters.com
Wed Oct 15 17:30:29 EDT 2008

I am *not* trying to internationalize my application -- for our user 
base and local application, there's no need to support any other 
language than English.

I would like, however, to change some of the text that appears (for 
example, in the tips that pop up when you hover over a tool like the 
zoom-in tool).

I have tried to understand the system of .po files (defaults, 
project-specific, alternate languages, sources vs. generated, etc), 
but have become completely confused. I have not found enough info in 
the documentation or wiki to clear up my confusion.

Could someone please provide a simple, clear, concise discussion of 
the following (if you don't have lots of time to answer, then please 
just skip to item (c) which is my most urgent question):

(a) When, and in what order, do .po files get used? For one thing, I'm 
confused about what happens when I refresh the installation using 
cw3setup vs. what happens at runtime when someone is using the site. I 
see that there are *generated* .po files in the htdocs/po folder... I 
assume *those* are the ones that actually provide text to the 
application at runtime. But even there I find "default" and 
project-specific folders and files. Where do "source" files live, and 
what is the chain of processing that converts and/or merges them to 
create the ones I see in htdocs/po?

(b) When do language-specific files get used? If there is both a 
client.po and client.en.po file, which one gets used? What is the 
interaction of the "generic" vs. the "language-specific" .po files?

(c) Last, but most important to me at this time: Suppose I wanted to 
change the hover-text of the "zoom in" button to say "Choose this tool 
and click on the map to zoom in" (we have some very un-savvy users!). 
What specific steps do I follow to make that change in the recommended 
way? My project currently has *no* po folder or files... do I copy 
them from <cartowebhome>/po and then modify them? Do I need to run 
server2pot.php and client2pot.php to initialize them in some way? I'm 
totally lost on how to proceed...

One final detail that adds to my confusion: on my development machine 
(WinXP, Apache server) I get message text like "Zoom in" or "Query by 
rectangle" when I hover over the tools; when I upload my project to 
the live web server (Windows Server, IIS) the tips are the message IDs 
instead of the text ("zoomin", "query_by_bbox"). Why do they differ?

Thanks in advance to any of you who can help me understand this! Cheers,



Chris Duncan, Ph.D.

duncan at GISmatters.com

1 Tuckerman Ln
Amherst, MA 01002

Tel: 413-549-2052
Fax: 508-637-2557

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