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msgcat(n)			      Tcl Built-In Commands				msgcat(n)


       msgcat - Tcl message catalog

       package require Tcl 8.2

       package require msgcat 1.1

       ::msgcat::mc src-string

       ::msgcat::mclocale ?newLocale?


       ::msgcat::mcload dirname

       ::msgcat::mcset locale src-string ?translate-string?

       ::msgcat::mcunknown locale src-string

       The  msgcat  package  provides a set of functions that can be used to manage multi-lingual
       user interfaces.  Text strings are defined in a ``message catalog'' which  is  independent
       from  the application, and which can be edited or localized without modifying the applica-
       tion source code.  New languages or locales are provided by adding a new file to the  mes-
       sage catalog.

       Use of the message catalog is optional by any application or package, but is encouraged if
       the application or package wishes to be enabled for multi-lingual applications.

       ::msgcat::mc src-string ?arg arg ...?
	      Returns a translation of src-string according to the  user's  current  locale.   If
	      additional  arguments past src-string are given, the format command is used to sub-
	      stitute the additional arguments in the translation of src-string.

	      ::msgcat::mc will search the messages defined in the current namespace for a trans-
	      lation of src-string; if none is found, it will search in the parent of the current
	      namespace, and so on until it reaches the  global  namespace.   If  no  translation
	      string  exists,  ::msgcat::mcunknown  is called and the string returned from ::msg-
	      cat::mcunknown is returned.

       ::msgcat::mc is the main function used to localize an application.  Instead  of	using  an
       English	string	directly,  an applicaton can pass the English string through ::msgcat::mc
       and use the result.  If an application is written for a single language in  this  fashion,
       then  it is easy to add support for additional languages later simply by defining new mes-
       sage catalog entries.

       ::msgcat::mclocale ?newLocale?
	      This function sets the locale to newLocale.  If newLocale is omitted,  the  current
	      locale  is returned, otherwise the current locale is set to newLocale.  The initial
	      locale defaults to the locale specified in the user's environment.  See LOCALE  AND
	      SUBLOCALE SPECIFICATION below for a description of the locale string format.

	      Returns  an  ordered list of the locales preferred by the user, based on the user's
	      language specification.  The list is ordered from most specific  to  least  prefer-
	      ence.   If  the  user  has  specified LANG=en_US_funky, this procedure would return
	      {en_US_funky en_US en}.

       ::msgcat::mcload dirname
	      Searches the specified directory for files that match the  language  specifications
	      returned	by  ::msgcat::mcpreferences.   Each  file  located  is sourced.  The file
	      extension is ``.msg''.  The number of message files which matched the specification
	      and were loaded is returned.

       ::msgcat::mcset locale src-string ?translate-string?
	      Sets  the  translation  for src-string to translate-string in the specified locale.
	      If translate-string is not specified, src-string is used for  both.   The  function
	      returns translate-string.

       ::msgcat::mcunknown locale src-string
	      This  routine  is  called  by  ::msgcat::mc in the case when a translation for src-
	      string is not defined in the current locale.  The default action is to return  src-
	      string.	This  procedure  can  be redefined by the application, for example to log
	      error messages for each  unknown	string.   The  ::msgcat::mcunknown  procedure  is
	      invoked  at the same stack context as the call to ::msgcat::mc.  The return vaue of
	      ::msgcat::mcunknown is used as the return vaue for the call to ::msgcat::mc.

       The locale is specified by a locale string.  The locale	string	consists  of  a  language
       code,  an  optional  country code, and an optional system-specific code, each separated by
       ``_''.  The country and language codes are specified in standards  ISO-639  and	ISO-3166.
       For example, the locale ``en'' specifies English and
	``en_US'' specifes  U.S. English.

       The  locale  defaults  to the value in env(LANG) at the time the msgcat package is loaded.
       If env(LANG) is not defined, then the locale defaults to ``C''.

       When a locale is specified by the user, a ``best match'' search is performed during string
       translation.   For  example, if a user specifies en_UK_Funky, the locales ``en_UK_Funky'',
       ``en_UK'', and ``en'' are searched in order until a matching translation string is  found.
       If no translation string is available, then ::msgcat::unknown is called.

       Strings stored in the message catalog are stored relative to the namespace from which they
       were added.  This allows multiple packages to use the same strings without fear of  colli-
       sions  with other packages.  It also allows the source string to be shorter and less prone
       to typographical error.

       For example, executing the code
	      mcset en hello "hello from ::"
	      namespace eval foo {mcset en hello "hello from ::foo"}
	      puts [mc hello]
	      namespace eval foo {puts [mc hello]}
       will print
	      hello from ::
	      hello from ::foo

       When searching for a translation of a message, the message catalog will search  first  the
       current	namespace,  then  the parent of the current namespace, and so on until the global
       namespace is reached.  This allows child namespaces to "inherit" messages from their  par-
       ent namespace.

       For example, executing the code
	      mcset en m1 ":: message1"
	      mcset en m2 ":: message2"
	      mcset en m3 ":: message3"
	      namespace eval ::foo {
		  mcset en m2 "::foo message2"
		  mcset en m3 "::foo message3"
	      namespace eval ::foo::bar {
		  mcset en m3 "::foo::bar message3"
	      puts "[mc m1]; [mc m2]; [mc m3]"
	      namespace eval ::foo {puts "[mc m1]; [mc m2]; [mc m3]"}
	      namespace eval ::foo::bar {puts "[mc m1]; [mc m2]; [mc m3]"}
       will print
	      :: message1; :: message2; :: message3
	      :: message1; ::foo message2; ::foo message3
	      :: message1; ::foo message2; ::foo::bar message3

       Message files can be located in any directory, subject to the following conditions:

       [1]    All message files for a package are in the same directory.

       [2]    The message file name is a locale specifier followed by ``.msg''.  For example:
	      es.msg	-- spanish
	      en_UK.msg -- UK English

       [3]    The  file  contains  a  series of calls to mcset, setting the necessary translation
	      strings for the language. For example:
	      ::msgcat::mcset es "Free Beer!" "Cerveza Gracias!"

       If a package is installed into a subdirectory of the tcl_pkgPath and  loaded  via  package
       require, the following procedure is recommended.

       [1]    During  package  installation, create a subdirectory msgs under your package direc-

       [2]    Copy your *.msg files into that directory.

	       Add the following command to your package initialization script:
	      # load language files, stored in msgs subdirectory
	      ::msgcat::mcload [file join [file dirname [info script]] msgs]

       It is possible that a message string used as an argument to format might have positionally
       dependent parameters that might need to be repositioned.  For example, it might be syntac-
       tically desirable to rearrange the sentence structure while translating.
	      format "We produced %d units in location %s" $num $city
	      format "In location %s we produced %d units" $city $num

       This can be handled by using the positional parameters:
	      format "We produced %1\$d units in location %2\$s" $num $city
	      format "In location %2\$s we produced %1\$d units" $num $city

       Similarly, positional parameters can be used with scan to extract values from internation-
       alized strings.

       The message catalog code was developed by Mark Harrison.

       format(n), scan(n), namespace(n), package(n)

       internationalization, i18n, localization, l10n, message, text, translation

Tcl					       8.1					msgcat(n)
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