i18n only with react hooks

Home/Stories/i18n react hooks

Matteo Granzotto - Jul 20, 2020

#React Hooks#Multi language#no-redux#I18n#translations#localizations

In this article, we are going to explain how to set up a translation/i18n internalization system with only React hooks. This article follows the first article of the series How To Implement a Translation System Without Any Library.

The first article of the series How To Implement a Translation System Without Any Library was about React Native and can be read here.

You can find the code of this tutorial here. You can take a look at a demo here.

Keep in mind to adapt the code to your best practice and code styling.

Environment setup

Execute the following commands:

npx create-react-app i18n-only-with-react-hooks
cd i18n-only-with-react-hooks
npm run eject

To the below question say yes:

? Are you sure you want to eject? This action is permanent. 

You will have the following structure:

i18n-only-with-react-hooks
├── README.md
├── node_modules
├── package.json
├── package-lock.json
├── .gitignore
├── config
│   ├── webpack.config.js
│   ├── ...
│   └── Other folder and files
├── scripts
│   ├── build.js
│   ├── start.js
│   └── test.js
├── public
│   ├── favicon.ico
│   ├── index.html
│   ├── logo192.png
│   ├── logo512.png
│   ├── manifest.json
│   └── robots.txt
└── src
    ├── App.css
    ├── App.js
    ├── App.test.js
    ├── index.css
    ├── index.js
    ├── logo.svg
    ├── serviceWorker.js
    └── setupTests.js

Install the dependencies:

npm i

Create the following folders inside the src one:

  • assets;
  • components;
  • screens;
  • translate.

and inside of all of these folders, create an index.js file. Inside of every index.js file we are going to export the contained sub-folders. The sintax that we are going to use will be:

export { default as ComponentName/ServiceName/etc } from "./ComponentNameFolder/ServiceNameFolder/etc";

Add to config/webpack.config.js file - in particular in the resolve.alias path of the return object - the following lines:

'Assets': path.resolve(__dirname, '../src/assets/'), 
'Components': path.resolve(__dirname, '../src/components/'),
'Screens': path.resolve(__dirname, '../src/screens/'),
'Translate': path.resolve(__dirname, '../src/translate/'),

in this way we are able to do inside every component:

import { ComponentName } from 'Components';
import { ServiceName } from 'Services';
...

and also the export for the internalization - the Translate module. If you prefer you can continue to use the relative path instead. The logic is the same.

Now we are going to re-organize the file generated by the npm run eject command.

Starting from the assets folder, we move logo.svg inside a new images folder. And inside the index file, we export the file:

export { default as Logo } from './images/logo.svg';

Now, for components, we move the App.css, App.js and App.test.js inside a new folder called App. Then we rename them into style.css, index.js and index.test.js. Inside the new App/index.js file we update:

  • the import line import './App.css'; in import './style.css';;
  • the import line import logo from './logo.svg';in import { Logo as logo } from 'Assets';.

In the end we need to update the entry point index file as the following:

src/index.js:

import React from "react";
import ReactDOM from "react-dom";
import "./index.css";
import { App } from "Components";
import * as serviceWorker from "./serviceWorker";

ReactDOM.render(<App />, document.getElementById("root"));

// If you want your app to work offline and load faster, you can change
// unregister() to register() below. Note this comes with some pitfalls.
// Learn more about service workers: https://bit.ly/CRA-PWA
serviceWorker.unregister();

Translate service

Now we are going to create the Translate module with all the functions necessary to translate our application.

The main functionality of React hooks used are:

  • createContext;
  • useContext;
  • useReducer.

Inside the translate folder, we create two new sub-folder:

  • Languages;
  • Translate.

Languages

The new Languages folder will contain the JSON files with all the label translated:

// src/translate/Languages/en.json 

{
  "Application.title": "Wavelop",
  "Application.subTitle": "i18n internalization with only React hooks - translate",

  "Application.footer": "Developed by Wavelop",

  "LanguageSwitcher.used": "Lang selected:",
  "LanguageSwitcher.it": "Italiano",
  "LanguageSwitcher.en": "English",
  "LanguageSwitcher.fr": "Français"
}
// src/translate/Languages/it.json

{
  "Application.title": "Wavelop",
  "Application.subTitle": "i18n internalizzazione with only React hooks - traduzioni",

  "Application.footer": "Sviluppato da Wavelop",
  "LanguageSwitcher.used": "Lingua selezionata: "
}
// src/translate/Languages/fr.json 

{
  "Application.title": "Wavelop (French translation)",
  "Application.subTitle": "i18n internalization with only React hooks - translate (French translation)",

  "Application.footer": "Developed by Wavelop (French translation)",
  "LanguageSwitcher.used": "Lang selected: (French translation) "
}

As you can see, there are some missing labels in the italian and french translations. This because there will be the fallback system for the missing one.

Translate

The new Translate folder will contain the util function used by the service for the translation. The file will look like this:

// src/translate/Translate/index.js

let _currentLanguage = "";
let _fallbackLanguage = "";
let _languages = [];
let _translations = {};

export const getCurrentLanguage = () => {
  return _currentLanguage;
};

export const setCurrentLanguage = currentLanguage => {
  _currentLanguage = currentLanguage;
};

export const getFallbackLanguage = () => {
  return _fallbackLanguage;
};

export const setFallbackLanguage = fallbackLanguage => {
  _fallbackLanguage = fallbackLanguage;
};

export const getLanguages = () => {
  return _languages;
};

export const setLanguages = languages => {
  _languages = languages;

  _languages.forEach(language => {
    const loadedLanguage = require(`../Languages/${language}.json`);
    _translations[language] = loadedLanguage;
  });
};

export const getTranslations = () => {
  return _translations;
};

export const setTranslations = translations => {
  _translations = translations;
};

export const t = label => {
  return _translations[_currentLanguage] &&
    _translations[_currentLanguage][label]
    ? _translations[_currentLanguage][label]
    : _translations[_fallbackLanguage] &&
      _translations[_fallbackLanguage][label]
    ? _translations[_fallbackLanguage][label]
    : label;
};

The Hooks integration

Using the combinantion of createContext,useContext and useReducer we can create a system that will update the entire application updating the label too.

// src/translate/index.js

import React, { createContext, useContext, useReducer } from "react";

import {
  getCurrentLanguage,
  setCurrentLanguage,
  getFallbackLanguage,
  setFallbackLanguage,
  getLanguages,
  setLanguages,
  getTranslations,
  setTranslations,
  t
} from "./Translate";

// Configuration
const { language, fallBacklanguage, languages } = {
  language: "en",
  fallBacklanguage: "en",
  languages: ["it", "fr", "en"]
};

// Init language properties

setCurrentLanguage(language);
setFallbackLanguage(fallBacklanguage);
setLanguages(languages);

// Contexts
const TranslateContext = createContext();
const TranslateStateContext = createContext();
const TranslateDispatchContext = createContext();

// Reducers
function translateReducer(state, action) {
  switch (action.type) {
    case "CHANGE_LANGUAGE": {
      setCurrentLanguage(action.language);
      return { ...state, language: action.language };
    }
    default: {
      throw new Error(`Unhandled action type: ${action.type}`);
    }
  }
}

// Initial state
const initialState = {
  language
};

export const TranslateProvider = props => {
  const value = {
    getCurrentLanguage: props.getCurrentLanguage || getCurrentLanguage,
    setCurrentLanguage: props.setCurrentLanguage || setCurrentLanguage,
    getFallbackLanguage: props.getFallbackLanguage || getFallbackLanguage,
    setFallbackLanguage: props.setFallbackLanguage || setFallbackLanguage,
    getLanguages: props.getLanguages || getLanguages,
    setLanguages: props.setLanguages || setLanguages,
    getTranslations: props.getTranslations || getTranslations,
    setTranslations: props.setTranslations || setTranslations,
    t: props.t || t
  };
  const [state, dispatch] = useReducer(translateReducer, initialState);

  return (
    <TranslateContext.Provider value={value}>
      <TranslateStateContext.Provider value={state}>
        <TranslateDispatchContext.Provider value={dispatch}>
          {props.children}
        </TranslateDispatchContext.Provider>
      </TranslateStateContext.Provider>
    </TranslateContext.Provider>
  );
};

export const useTranslate = () => {
  // You can use the function of provider
  const context = useContext(TranslateContext);
  if (context === undefined) {
    throw new Error("useTranslate must be used within a TranslateProvider");
  }
  return context;
};

export const useTranslateState = () => {
  const context = useContext(TranslateStateContext);
  if (context === undefined) {
    throw new Error("useTranslateState must be used within a TranslateProvider");
  }
  return context;
};

export const useTranslateDispatch = () => {
  const context = useContext(TranslateDispatchContext);
  if (context === undefined) {
    throw new Error("useTranslateDispatch must be used within a TranslateProvider");
  }
  return context;
};

We create three contexts to inject in the whole application the utils functions, the state object and the dispatch function. The state object exposes the current language and the dispatch the way to switch language. The utils functions will be used for different purposes, the main one to get the translations.

SwitchLanguage components

To create a simple experience for switching between languages, we are going to create a component to do this. We create a new folder inside components one called LanguageSwitcher. Inside the new folder, we create two new files - index.js and style.js:

// src/components/LanguageSwitcher/index.js

// NPM dependencies
import React from "react";

// Application dependencies
import {
  useTranslate,
  useTranslateDispatch,
  useTranslateState
} from "Translate";
import "./style.css";

function LanguageSwitcher() {
  const { language } = useTranslateState(); // we get the current language
  const i18n = useTranslate(); // we get the utils functions
  const { t, getLanguages } = i18n;
  const dispatch = useTranslateDispatch();

  const items = getLanguages().map(key => {
    return key !== language ? (
      <button
        key={key}
        onClick={() => {
          dispatch({ type: "CHANGE_LANGUAGE", language: key });
        }}
      >
        {t(`LanguageSwitcher.${key}`)}
      </button>
    ) : (
      ""
    );
  });

  return (
    <section>
      <span>{t(`LanguageSwitcher.used`)}  {t(`LanguageSwitcher.${language}`)}</span>
      <span>{items}</span>
    </section>
  );
}

export default LanguageSwitcher;

We can leave empty the src/components/LanguageSwitcher/style.js file.

Least, we add to src/components/index.js the following line:

export { default as LanguageSwitcher } from "./LanguageSwitcher";

Link all together thanks to the TranslateProvider

We need now a screen to show. We create a HelloWorld screen - that is a component. We create a new folder inside screens called HelloWorld. Inside the new sub-folder, we create two new files - index.js and style.js:

// src/screens/HelloWorld/index.js

import React from "react";
import { Logo as logo } from "Assets";
import "./style.css";
import { useTranslate } from "Translate";
import { LanguageSwitcher } from "Components";

function HelloWorld() {

  const i18n = useTranslate();
  const { t } = i18n;

  return (
      <span className="HelloWorld">
        <header>
          <h1>{t("Application.title")}</h1>
          <h2>{t("Application.subTitle")}</h2>
          <img src={logo} className="HelloWorld-logo" alt="logo" />
        </header>
        <main>
          <LanguageSwitcher></LanguageSwitcher>
        </main>

        <footer>{t("Application.footer")}</footer>
      </span>
  );
}

export default HelloWorld;

We can leave empty the src/screens/HelloWorld/style.js file.

Least, we add to src/screens/index.js the following line:

export {default as HelloWorld} from './HelloWorld';

At this point, we go back to src/components/App/index.js file and we update it in this way:

// src/components/App/index.js

import React from "react";
import "./style.css";
import { TranslateProvider } from "Translate";
import { HelloWorld } from "Screens";

function App() {
  return (
    <TranslateProvider>
      <HelloWorld />
    </TranslateProvider>
  );
}

export default App;

The style for the App component is no more necessary, we can delete all the content of style.js.

Final project structure:

i18n-only-with-react-hooks
├── README.md
├── node_modules
├── package.json
├── package-lock.json
├── .gitignore
├── config
│   ├── webpack.config.js
│   ├── ...
│   └── Other folder and files
├── scripts
│   ├── build.js
│   ├── start.js
│   └── test.js
├── public
│   ├── favicon.ico
│   ├── index.html
│   ├── logo192.png
│   ├── logo512.png
│   ├── manifest.json
│   └── robots.txt
└── src
    ├── index.css
    ├── index.js
    ├── serviceWorker.js
    ├── setupTests.js
    ├── assets
    │   ├── images
    |   │   └── logo.svg   
    │   └── index.js
    ├── components
    │   ├── App
    |   │   ├── index.js   
    |   │   └── style.css   
    │   ├── LanguageSwitcher
    |   │   ├── index.js   
    |   │   └── style.css  
    │   └── index.js  
    ├── screens
    │   ├── HelloWorld
    |   │   ├── index.js   
    |   │   └── style.css  
    │   └── index.js
    └── translate
        ├── Languages
        │   ├── en.json  
        │   ├── fr.json   
        │   └── it.json  
        ├── Translate
        │   └── index.js  
        └── index.js

Now everything is working, execute npm run start and go to localhost:3000 to test it.

Demo

Reference

Conclusion

With the combination of the React Hooks API is easy to create an i18n translate system for your site or application.

This tutorial is part of the series How To Implement a Translation System Without Any Library and the first article was about React Native and can be read here.

You can find the code of this tutorial here. You can take a look at a demo here.

If you have questions, please write to us on the chat or an email to info@wavelop.com.