Ruby on Rails Upgrades Internationalization

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-11-21 Print this article Print

The Ruby on Rails team announces a new internationalization framework to make it easier for developers to build Web sites and applications suited to languages other than English. Ruby on Rails 2.2, released Nov. 21, delivers the internationalization framework.

With a new framework, Ruby on Rails now has improved support for internationalization.

In a blog post entitled, "Myth #6: Rails only speaks English," David Heinemeier Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails, explains the addition to the Rails platform that makes it easier for developers to create applications for languages other than English.

"It used to be somewhat inconvenient to deal with UTF-8 [Unicode Transformation Framework] in Rails because Ruby's primary method of dealing with them was through regular expressions," Hansson said. "If you just did a na???ve string operation, you'd often be surprised by results and think that Ruby was somehow fundamentally unable to deal with UTF-8."

Hansson said with Ruby on Rails 2.2, which was released on Nov. 21, internationalization will be easier with the Ruby-based Web framework. "Rails 2.2 ships with a simple internationalization framework that makes it silly-easy to do translations and locales," he said. "There's a dedicated discussion group, wiki and Web site for getting familiar with this work. I've been using it in a test with translating Basecamp to Danish and really like what I'm seeing ... Rails is very capable of making sites that need to be translated into many different locales. Before Rails 2.2, you'd have to use one of the many plug-ins. After Rails 2.2, you can use what's in the box for most cases (or add additional plug-ins for more exotic support)."

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Internationalization is the process of designing a software application so that it can be adapted to various languages and regions without engineering changes. Localization is the process of adapting software for a specific region or language by adding locale-specific components and translating text.

Although there were ways to add internationalization before Rails 2.2, they were not as efficient as the new framework, Hansson said. He wrote:

It was long a point of contention that Rails didn't ship with a[n] internationalization framework in the box. There has, however, long been a wide variety of plug-ins that added this support. There was localize, globalize and many others. Each with their own strengths and tailored to different situations.

All these plug-ins have powered Rails applications in other languages than English for a long time. Some made it possible to translate strings to multiple languages, others just made Rails work well for one other given language. But whatever your translation need was, there was probably a plug-in out there that did it.

Intridea, a Ruby on Rails software maker and consultancy, announced that the CSI (Computer Security Institute), a community of security experts and professionals, has chosen to be the official microblogging technology provider for all their Web and mobile collaboration and communication needs. is a Ruby-on-Rails-based, on-demand enterprise social media solution from Intridea. The product is a Twitter-like tool for the enterprise. Barg Upender, CEO and founding partner of Intridea, said is written in Ruby, Ruby on Rails and Erlang.

SI Director Robert Richardson called a "safe and secure business alternative to mainstream social media tools Facebook, MySpace and Twitter." Richardson said distinguishing characteristics of include advanced security and permission controls, group functionality, Twitter interoperability, file sharing, an open API, scalability, and an appealing interface.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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