Submissions/MediaWiki i18n getting data-driven and world-reusable

From Wikimania 2013 • Hong Kong

This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2013.

Submission no.
Subject no.

Title of the submission

MediaWiki i18n getting data-driven and world-reusable

Type of submission


Author of the submission

Santhosh Thottingal and Niklas Laxström

Country of origin

India and Finland


Wikimedia Foundation

E-mail address and

Personal homepage or blog

MediaWiki internationalization (i18n) is improving every year. In this presentation we will introduce the recent new features and changes to MediaWiki i18n. We will also explain the motivations for new directions in the development including data-driven approach and reusable libraries. The presentation covers both PHP and JavaScript side of our i18n code.

Detailed proposal

MediaWiki internationalization (i18n) is improving every year. Lately we have taken a new approach and started preferring the data-driven approach. Great example of this is the decision to change plural implementation from custom code to use data from the Unicode Commons Locale Data Repository (CLDR). Migrating to CLDR data has not been without problems. Attention has been paid to performance as well trying to solve the mismatch between existing plural code and CLDR. The CLDR extensions now provides more useful data like language names, country names and currency names and more is coming, like number formatting and time expressions. There are issues how the CLDR gathers it's data, but the benefits in maintainability of our code offsets that. Maintaining multiple i18n frameworks, one in PHP, one in JS, one as jquery.i18n is lot of duplicated effort which CLDR helps to reduce.

The flexibility of plural rules has been increased by allowing explicit forms for plain numbers. This is of great help to languages, that only rarely need more forms, as it allows us to reduce the number of the forms needed to supply for the common case. Even English language can benefit from it.

The JavaScript i18n utilities have gained a lot of features, like support for gammar, plural and gender, getting nearer to feature parity with PHP side. Yet many features are still missing. The first target for improvements has been the messaging functions and data delivery with resource loader modules.

We will also explain the relation of MediaWiki JavaScript i18n and the standalone jquery.i18n library, which is developed in GitHub. The features are similar, but integrating it into MediaWiki is problematic due to resource loader. It has some features not in MediaWiki, like dynamic interface language changing without reloadig the open page. There might also be interesting things to tell about new i18n features in ECMAScript standard.


Technology and Infrastructure

Length of presentation/talk
25 Minutes
Language of presentation/talk


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