Let’s localize jetpacks. At last.

For years now we have been wondering (and asking with insistence) how we translators shall provide locales for jetpacks. Owing to Alexandre Poirot aka ochameau on #jetpack (thanks Mozilla for having found and trusted the right man for this mission), this might be the final answer.
First thing that is quite satifying for translators: the locale format will be good old .properties, which is robust and familiar among us.
Second thing is: testing jetpacks with fresh locales (once translation work is done) does not require any technical ability (no special script nor command line is necessary to inject the file). All you have to do is play a bit with one special extension which does the job seamlessly for you.

But please try by yourself and enjoy:
1. Install this version of Collusion extension on your Firefox – No browser restart necessary.
2. Download this en-US.properties file and translate it in your own language with one correct text editor (remember UTF-8 is your friend and no ominous BOM please). Name your file as {MylangCode-prefix}.properties, e.g: “pt-BR.properties” or “de.properties”
3. Install locale-updater extension by the incredible Alexandre Poirot. No browser restart necessary.
4. In the addon manager of your browser, spot Collusion in the list and click the “Update l10n” button which is now on the left.
5. A window is opening asking you for a file, choose your xx.properties and send it.
6. Collusion addon is automatically uninstalled and reinstalled with updated localization files. Your lang should appear in Collusion interface. No browser restart necessary.

Some observations

This version of Collusion is patched to use the upcoming HTML localization feature coming soon in Jetpack. It allows to extract strings from HTML page and expose them as plain old properties for the translators. Extension developers are welcome to comment and suggest.
Locale-updater extension is on github: hack and improve as you like it.

Next step: having .properties files from jetpacks submitted here on BabelZilla for easy translation, on the current “old” WTS or on its future Adofex-based version which is under progress. Stay tuned!

Posted in Extensions around the world | Comments Off on Let’s localize jetpacks. At last.

New Translation Teams: localize 3 top extensions for your language

We are very glad to see surfacing new localization teams working hard to release their language langpacks for Firefox, some are already available, some are still in progress. Here is a selection in no particular order:


Localizers, you just rock!

Now we have a simple invitation: as soon as main goals are reached and the langpack for the application itself is released, we suggest you should indulge in translation for let’s say 3 top popular extensions, so that your users might have a complete experience in their language. Maybe Adblock Plus, Video DownloadHelper and Personas Plus. Of course these are just our suggestions, feel free to pick whatever you like. Here the list of AMO most popular extensions.
As most of them are hosted for translation on BabelZilla, you have a simple way to translate online. You have just to register with a valid email. Then pick the extension you wish and translate. Several contributors can register for the same translation so team work is possible and recommended. More on this little guide.
In case you miss your language slot in the list, just ring the bell with a quick message to techadmin at babelzilla.org.

Mmmh.. Localizers for established locales, why not having the top 10 extensions translated if not yet available? 😉

Posted in Extensions around the world | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

BabelZilla Code of Conduct

Since we recently had some trouble on our forums with controversial declarations, we at babelzilla-governance found it was necessary to set up a Code of Conduct based on the highest possible moral standards in order to let peace and diversity overflow our community like a tsunami of love.
We created a special task force of wise guys and we finally can release this very exhaustive set of rules. Enjoy! (and Beware)

0. This site and community is mainly dedicated to translation of addons for Mozilla apps. If you wish to tell us about your personal religious, political or philosophical options or whatever sexual orientation, it is highly recommended you do that on any other channel available on the Internet and not on BabelZilla, because it is just irrelevant here.

1. BabelZilla is no substitute for moral code. You are responsible for your behaviour. If you post material which may create controversial debate or hostile reaction, consider this is your responsibility. Think twice and be responsible.

Posted in Extensions around the world, Mozilla | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Make your extension compatible with SeaMonkey, if you can

Extensions are great. They’re one of the technical reasons (the Manifesto comes first, of course) that make us choose Firefox, and they usually help us to save the day.

Firefox is Mozilla main and most used product, and of course if you want to create an extension Firefox is your main target. But why limit yourself to Firefox?
You may not know it, but if your extension isn’t too complex, and it doesn’t rely on Firefox-specific technologies, it will probably be compatible with SeaMonkey out of the box, all you have to do is to register SeaMonkey in the install.rdf file, with this code:

    min version
    max version

so that all of the SeaMonkey users can benefit from your extension, installing it painlessly and receiving the automatic updates from a.m.o. With the rapid release process is even easier, because the gecko version on Firefox and SeaMonkey is strictly related, so you can discover easily which are the correct min and max version numbers.
Everything you have to do is to loose 5 minutes of your time to try your extension on SeaMonkey, that’s all.

Not all of the extensions work out of the box, though. I’m not an extension developer and I don’t know anything about xul or js (so don’t ask me for help), but I’ve discovered that in some cases the compatibility with SeaMonkey is just one line of code far.
If you have to register some component (e.g. a stylesheet) in chrome.manifest and you have a line similar to this:

style chrome://browser/content/browser.xul chrome://myext/skin/mystyle.css

everything you have to do to make it compatible with SeaMonkey is to add this other line in the same file:

style chrome://navigator/content/navigator.xul chrome://myext/skin/mystyle.css

this is the case of extensions like xclear, Reader and Readability.

In some cases this is not enough, and then I don’t know how to help you, but I want to ask you all, extension developers, to spend these 5 minutes to install SeaMonkey and check these two easy things.

In this way we’ll all win: SeaMonkey users will be able to benefit the functions of your extension, and you’ll get hundreds of possible new users.

Posted in Tech Room! | Tagged | 3 Comments

MozCamp EU Berlin & Next step for BabelZilla

Learning and meeting

I have been lucky enough to be invited to MozCamp Europe in Berlin last week-end and enjoyed the meeting very much on every aspect: have a better insight of what is cooking in Mozilla headquarters, discover amazing projects, having fun together, but above all I am glad I met people in real life and in some cases have an interesting discussion about addons localization on BabelZilla.
First of all, I was very glad to meet our good old Jürgen Berg aka Fenian. It was the first time we met in real life, though we have been working and communicating together on a daily basis for 6 years. I also met for the first time Lakrits who is at the moment our top contributor translating for Swedish, the old-timer teo who is translating for Polish, was pleased to meet again George (aka Sonickydon) from Greece and some others whose face and nick are now familiar to me. I really hope we shall have another occasion to meet other BabelZillians in the future.

Talking about addons localization

A significant number of various sessions were focussing on addons and localization at this MozCamp, which is but justified, considering addons are crucial for the browser, whether they are for old desktop or for mobile which is now major battlefield for Mozilla.
Among various sessions, I attended this very interesting one about the way Jetpacks would be localized in the future. As JSON was a candidate for file format, it seems the community discussion lead to some other localizer-friendly choice. We shall see how our own system can parse this kind of files, but it seems rather easy to handle.
I also gave a short presentation about the current state and issues on BabelZilla and what our goals for next steps are.
You can have slides here. There were a couple of questions and a very grateful Ken Barbalace (the developer of the Classic Compact Options extension), then it was time to leave room for Adofex, (demo) which can be the next step for BabelZilla, replacing gradually our good old WTS. Don’t be afraid, transition will be scheduled smoothly, some key features we currently enjoy on BabelZilla are still to be ported or implemented on Adofex, but hey Tim will develop his already smart tool to be tested and used on BabelZilla, so that you the user community, whether you are newcomers or old-timers, can provide useful feedback and help us create the best possible system together. Also, he would be glad to receive your feedback on the talk and the teams organization.
Tim will soon post here and explain what the interest of Adofex is for Babelzilla and which will be his next step on development. Stay tuned!

Posted in Extensions around the world, Localization, Mozilla, WTS (Web Translation System) | 3 Comments

BabelZilla? Localization continues as usual!

Some of you may have noticed last week’s blogpost announcing the closure of BabelZilla by the end of this month. Do not worry, that blogpost was published accidentally. At the moment, there are some discussions going on concerning the future of BabelZilla and extension localization in general, and we will inform you of any details at an appropriate time. But for now, BabelZilla is NOT closing. The WTS and the boards are available and will remain at your full disposal, with possibly exciting enhancements to come. Ah well, just another day in the BabelZillian jungle. Business as usual!

Posted in Localization, Tech Room!, WTS (Web Translation System) | 4 Comments

Let’s translate Etherpad Lite interface strings

See this BabelZilla post and see what is to be done.

Posted in Localization | Comments Off on Let’s translate Etherpad Lite interface strings

Retrieving AMO metadata on upload: tests wanted

If your extension is hosted on AMO, you have probably spent some time filling fieds to describe what it does, how it works, and various useful information for your users, but you may not wish to write everything again when you submit your extension here on BabelZilla to get more languages.
We know that you are not so keen on documentation and we do care about sparing your time for development and other high-level code activities. That is why our Tech Admin has made a more complete upload system to retrieve automatically AMO metadata which will be exposed to BabelZilla translators.

Please give a test (it will last less than 2 minutes I promise). This is a beta feature, you can upload as many times as you like since there is no connection to our usual database.

You are welcome to try on this test page.
Test page is no longer available.

A caution though: you will see yourself logged in as ‘BZ_System’. Do not be alarmed and think someone has taken over your account; just log out and log in as yourself again afterwards!

We will be pleased to receive feedback, bug notification, interesting suggestions and requests.

Posted in AMO, Extensions around the world, Localization | 2 Comments

BabelZillaMenu LTS 7.1 version release

Due to popular marketing demand, we have decided to push a new version of our old solid homemade extension. In a context of fierce competition, we wished to give it more visibility.
BabelZillaMenu users will likely be curious to know what this change means for them. The short answer is almost nothing will change.
This is exactly the reason why we want to ensure our numerous users that their beloved extension will be compatible with Firefox for quite a long time. So we have pushed the version number directly from 2.0.4 to 7.1 (hey Adblock Plus is left far behind you know) and boosted maxversion significantly, see image below.

Many thanks to our translator friends, this milestone edition is released with 44 locales, ready for easy deployment in corporate environment. Enjoy!

Download here (and no, it is not on AMO)

BTW we also plan to provide 44 restartless versions (one per lang) along with the next release. Restartless is such a cool competitive advantage that we must jump on the bandwagon asap.

Posted in Extensions around the world | Comments Off on BabelZillaMenu LTS 7.1 version release

Is the death of the address bar programmed ?

Clochix who is the author of the post below is a long-time Mozilla supporter devotee. He recently published his concern about the URL bar (original post in French). We thought it was worth reaching a larger audience within Mozilla community.
– Goofy

I really like the Hackasaurus project. To be an actor of one’s own life and of the life of the city is not something innate, it requires learning. The same is true for our digital life. Becoming an Internet citizen is not innate. Education is essential.
One of the pillars of the Web is its communication protocol, HTTP. HTTP is beautiful for a lot of reasons. One of which is because it puts on the same level the verbs “read” and “write”. The Web is basically a medium of interaction, not consumption. The first four letters at the beginning of URLs are there to remind us how different the medium is.
Are we too stupid?
Unfortunately, the vast majority of Internet users ignore the meaning of URLs. They don’t care about the address bar. The browsers vendors have two options: delete this useless thing, or explain to users for what it is useful. Google clearly chose the former, by merging the address bar and the search bar, and now by ceasing to display the protocol in URLs. Both decisions tend to obfuscate the underlying architecture. Some may argue this is done for the sake of simplicity. But I see another meaning: Internet average users are too stupid, do not waste time explaining them how it works and just delete anything they do not understand.
Sadly, Mozilla is also beginning to follow this way. Bug 665580 has just landed in my nightly build. “Hide http:// and single trailing slashes in the location bar”. Motivation: “This Makes the location bar more user-friendly, Chrome and Opera are already doing it. Can we follow their lead?”. Ok, so Chrome and Opera are doing it and Mozilla must follow the directions they give, so let’s do it cheerfully.
It makes me sad.
I thought Firefox was a different browser, which does not just try to be like the others. A tool aimed at promoting a certain vision of the Web, a vision in which users are involved. This implies understanding what is going on, having basic knowledge of the underlying mechanism, for example to know what are URLs and HTTP. By hiding the URI scheme, I think Firefox is moving away from this goal. Design is not neutral, it serves a goal.
TV screen all over?
In fact, what makes me really sad is that I fear that one day the address bar may disappear. During the development of Firefox 4, with the end of the status bar, the display of the target of a link already disappeared for a few days. The browser interface looks more and more like a TV screen. We are only passive spectators in front of a TV, and I don’t want that future for my browser. With App Tabs, users get used to identify sites with their logo in the favicon. Will the next step of simplification of the interface be to remove the address bar and replace it with only the site’s favicon in an overlay, like a channel logo on TV ? Labs are already experiencing this with Home Dash and LessChrome HD. I like these experiments, but wonder what may be their side effects. I think Mozilla is going in the right direction by simplifying the interface and giving more room for content. But this should not come at the expense of other goals of the Foundation. Firefox should also be an educational tool that helps everyday users to take better control of the Web and of their online life. And I fear that some recent decisions are in conflict with this mission.
I was writing this post when I discovered another sad news. For a few days now, we are no more able to write javascript in the address bar. This is the result of Bug 655099. More and more attacks convince users to copy a malicious code in the address bar. Rather than educate Internet citizen, browser vendors are taking them for irresponsible people and delete this feature. I think we don’t go far enough, it might be safer to cut off their hands, to avoid any wrong manipulations! I know the address bar is not the right place to hack JavaScript code, I know that new web developer tools now offer a native JS console. But the use of JavaScript in the address bar was an easy entry point to start hacking web pages. It was the entry point chosen by Hackasaurus for the first mission for people wanting to learn hacking. The mission is now outdated. Sad. Hackasaurus is not specific to Firefox, the missions should be compatible with other browsers, so this one had to be rewritten because other browsers are also in the process of forbidding JavaScript in the address bar. The real problem is not about this specific issue. It is the logic at work behind these decisions that I dislike: under the pretext of securing the Internet, we are gradually removing everything which might hurt the users, we take away from their hands the tools that can probably be dangerous, but also enable them to learn and create. I won’t let a baby alone in a room with a toolbox. But withdrawing the toolbox from the hands of adults is worrying me.
Posted in Mozilla | 10 Comments