[Mediawiki-i18n] Altering message string output for Javascript

Neil Kandalgaonkar neilk at wikimedia.org
Wed Aug 11 02:01:32 UTC 2010

I've been trying to figure out if it's possible to slightly change how 
message strings are processed, for the particular case of sending them 
to a Javascript-heavy application.

The WMF has been working on a lot of interface improvements, and these 
things necessarily lean heavily on Javascript.

There are many cases where we want to do some late message parsing on 
the client, like

    '[$1 Click here to advance to the next item]'
    'You have uploaded $1 {{PLURAL:$1|file|files}}'

However there is a lot of other kinds of parsing that could and should 
be done on the server, like

    'From {{SITENAME}}'

So we have two options, as far as I can tell:


Include a wikitext parser in Javascript, that also knows how to fetch 
int:strings and other such values when it needs them. This is 
undesirable for obvious reasons.

Michael Dale actually did a lot of this already for his JS2 project, and 
his solution works. But I'm taking another look at the problem.


Figure out some way to alter parsing on the server for Javascript 
messages, such that things like {{SITENAME}} are parsed, but {{PLURAL}} 
isn't (or, the parse results emits an identical {{PLURAL}} template call).

Then a much simpler parser -- probably based on regular expressions -- 
can be deployed to the client.

Roan Kattouw and Trevor Parscal are working on a new Resource Loader 
that may be able to do some of the above. Also, Niklaus Laxstrom is 
working on a new Message class that looks like it will be far more 
amenable to this sort of thing.

In the meantime...

I've been messing around with the current system, and it seems that 
there isn't any good way to do this that doesn't involve evil dabbling 
with global parser hooks. I tried creating a special Language-like 
object that I could pass into message parsing, which essentially wrapped 
all calls to another Language object except for convertPlural and mCode. 
But it seems that this won't work either since so many of the 
ParserOptions are retrieved from global settings in strange ways.

Any thoughts?

Neil Kandalgaonkar     <neilk at wikimedia.org>

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