[Idle-dev] An idea and a bug

Jameson "Chema" Quinn jquinn at cs.oberlin.edu
Tue Aug 7 20:52:55 CEST 2007

I'm hacking at my own version of IDLE to try to implement language support
in Python. I found a bug.

1. The bug.
I'm using IDLE to work on a copy of IDLE in my home directory. I copy the
idlelib directory to ~/jqidlelib , add "jq" to lines 2 and 22 of idle.py,
open it in IDLE, and start hacking on the other files. If a hacked version
of some other module is not open in IDLE and I press F5 to run idle.py, I
get the desired behaviour (the modules are loaded from my hacked copies) but
the error display is wacky. Errors refer to the line numbers of my hacked
versions, but they give the path and code snippets from the actual IDLE

2. My idea
I have started a discussion on the OLPC wiki and over email with some
interested parties within OLPC about the way to do i18n (internat...ion) on
Python. My idea is to have code on-disk in "real", english-based python, but
to allow displaying and editing of that code in the user's native language.
This means that there are systems for invisible, real-time, two-way
translation of keywords, identifiers, and docstrings/comments. This is
primarily aimed at a young demographic; I realize that there are plenty of
"real programmers" who learn the keywords of a programming language in their
abstract meaning, without knowing the everyday English meaning of those
terms. (after all, "string", "hash", and "for" have meanings in programming
quite distinct from their everyday meanings anyway).

Keywords: dynamic two-way translation is easy.
Identifiers: supports initially creating identifiers in a native (unicode)
language. When a translation is created later (using easy context menus and
dictionary-based guessing support), the .py file is changed to include the
English version, and the translation is stored in a parallel .p4n file.
Translations of included modules are imported from their .p4n files. All
clashes and character set issues are dealt with (using prefixes to escape,
for instance) in order to keep the translation reversible at all times. This
requires some minor modifications to python itself for the case when an
imported module has added a translation but the calling code has not been
edited since then so it still uses the non-english version of the
identifier. This case would be treated with extreme care to prevent security
Docstrings and comments: These are either escaped as "code" (using simple
ascii markup) and translated using the same system as above, or translated
on a by-line basis. Support would exist to do initial translation using some
on-line babelfish-like tool.

I think the best way to explain all this is to implement it, so I'm doing
so. Ideally, this implementation will be clean, simple, and unobtrusive
enough that it will become a standard feature of IDLE, and even inspire
inclusion in other IDEs - becoming standard within Python, and available for
other languages and human-editable data formats.

Jameson Quinn

ps. Here's how Mike Fletcher put his proposed solution, my emphasis added,
the visual stuff he mentions is a separate issue:

My idea for internationalization is as follows:

   * assume a progression from graphical, to local language, to
     subset-of-English for those who want to become proficient programmers
         o provide tools that let the children put blocks together in a
           reasonably constrained environment
         o show the children what putting the blocks together does in
           their native language
         o let the children edit the source-code in their own language
           to start with
         o allow the children to flip back and forth between
           native-language keywords and English keywords
         o support the children in translating to/from English for code
           they want to publish
   * for each component in the programming language (e.g. for loops,
     while loops, variable assignment, etceteras)
         o provide a visual form which implies the operation and allows
           for drag-and-drop operation
         o provide a canonical translation (which is also reserved
           words/symbols/punctuation in the native language)
         o provide a localized description of the operation (preferably
           with some simple lessons on usage, maybe some demos with
           sample code for each one, hook these up in the UI so that
           the child can explore the idea behind the operation)
         o when used, show the (standard) Python code generated by the
   * for the special case of identifiers in the user's
     (non-ascii-compatible) language
         o store all identifiers as transcoded[1] ascii identifiers in
           the source code on initial writing (before translation)
         o display all identifiers as their non-transcoded versions in
           the UI
         o store the translation matrix in a separate file (to allow
           for multiple translations)
   * allow for a localization option that also translates keywords and
         o uses the canonical translation
         o allow the user to input any Unicode identifier as an
           identifier which is not in the canonical translation
         o typing in the localized version of "for" or "class" would
           insert "for" and "class" into the stored code
   * identifiers/keywords which have no translations are presented in
     ascii (i.e. all current Python code would show up in English,
     potentially with keywords in Arabic or Thai)
   * have a tool that allows for querying e.g. BabelFish to get
     translations from/to a given language for given identifiers
         o allow for exporting any pure-ascii translation (e.g.
           English) to the base file (updating the translation tables
           as we do so)
         o should provide both localization and internationalization
           support (i.e. the same tool would allow the country to load
           a common Python module and produce a translation for it)
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://mail.python.org/pipermail/idle-dev/attachments/20070807/23b6a331/attachment.htm 

More information about the IDLE-dev mailing list