Internationalize Your AngularJS App

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Internationalizing your app can make software development a painful experience, especially if you don’t start doing it from the very beginning or you take a willy-nilly approach toward it.

Modern apps, where the front-end and the back-end are distinctly separate from one another, can be even trickier to deal with when it comes to internationalization. Suddenly you no longer have access to the plethora of time-tested tools that once helped with internationalizing your traditional server-side page generated web apps.

Accordingly, an AngularJS app requires on-demand delivery of internationalization (i18n) and localization (l10n) data to be delivered to the client to render itself in the appropriate locale. Unlike traditional server-side rendered apps, you can no longer rely on the server to deliver pages that are already localized. You can learn about building a multilingual PHP application here

In this article, you will learn how you can internationalize your AngularJS app, and will learn about tools that you can use to ease the process. Making your AngularJS app multilingual can pose some interesting challenges, but certain approaches can make it easier to work around most of those challenges.

A Simple i18n Capable AngularJS App

To allow the client to change the language and locale on the fly based on user preferences, you will need to make a number of key design decisions:

  • How do you design your app to be language and locale-agnostic from the start?
  • How do you structure i18n and l10n data?
  • How do you deliver this data efficiently to clients?
  • How do you abstract away as much of the low-level implementation details to simplify the developer workflow?

Answering these questions as early as possible can help avoid hindrances in the development process down the line. Each of these challenges will be addressed in this article; some through robust AngularJS libraries, others through certain strategies and approaches.

Internationalization Libraries for AngularJS

There are a number of JavaScript libraries that are built specifically for internationalizing AngularJS apps.

angular-translate is an AngularJS module that provides filters and directives, along with the ability to load i18n data asynchronously. It supports pluralization through MessageFormat, and is designed to be highly extensible and configurable.

If you are using angular-translate in your project, you may find some of the following packages super useful:

For a truly dynamic experience, you can add to angular-dynamic-locale the bunch. This library allows you to change the locale dynamically—and that includes the way dates, numbers, currencies, etc. are all formatted.

Read more about this at Toptal

Irina Papuc
Irina is a guest contributor from Toptal.
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