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Compile po files when releasing a package

Project description


This package compiles po files. It contains a zest.releaser entry point and a stand-alone command line tool.


You want to release a package that has a locales dir (or locale, or something else as long as it has a LC_MESSAGES folder somewhere in it) with translations in .po files. You want to include the compiled .mo files in your release as well, but you do not want to keep those in a revision control system (like subversion) as they are binary and can be easily recreated. That is good. This package helps with that.

Want .mo files? Add a file.

When you use python sdist to create a source distribution, distutils (or setuptools or distribute or distutils2) knows which files it should include by looking at the information of the revision control system (RCS). This is why in the case of subversion you should use a checkout and not an export: you need the versioning information. (For other RCS or for subversion 1.7+ you currently need to install extra packages like setuptools-git.)

Since the compiled .mo files are best not stored in subversion (or any other RCS), you need to give a hint on which files to include. You do this by adding a file. Let’s say your package has roughly these contents (not all files are shown):


Then you need a file like this:

recursive-include your *

This tells distutils to recursively include all (*) files and directories within the your directory. Try it: create a directory structure like the above example with a proper, copy the domain.po file to as a silly test, run python sdist and check that the .mo file ends up in the created distribution.

Let’s have a bigger example:

recursive-include your docs *
include *
global-exclude *.pyc

I will explain the lines one by one for clarity. And yes: I (Maurits) now simply go to this page on PyPI if I want to have an example of a proper file, so this documentation is now getting slightly larger than strictly needed. :-)

recursive-include your docs *
Include files in the your directory (from your.package) and the docs directory. If a directory does not exist, you will get a warning, so you may want to remove it then, but leaving it there does not hurt.
include *
Include unrecognized files in the root directory. By default only standard files like README.txt,, and setup.cfg are included, so for example not a CHANGES.txt file.

global-exclude *.pyc

This avoids unnecessarily adding compiled python files in the release. When these are not there, for example after a fresh checkout, you will get a harmless warning:

warning: no previously-included files matching '*.pyc' found anywhere in distribution

For more info on creating a source distribution and how to use see the Python documentation.

With this part working, the only thing this zest.pocompile package needs to do, is to actually find all .po files and compile them to .mo files. It simply looks for directories that are named LC_MESSAGES and compiles all .po files found in there.

Command line tool

When you easy_install zest.pocompile you get a command line tool pocompile. When you run it, this walks the current directory, finds all po translation files in a properly formed locales directory and compiles them into mo files. You can also give it a list of directories as arguments instead. Run it with the --help option to get some help.

In the above example, if you are in the your.package directory and run pocompile it will create this file:


zest.releaser entry point

You do not need zest.releaser for proper functioning of zest.pocompile. But if you use the two together, in combination with a proper file, releasing a source distribution with compiled .mo files is made easy.

The release (or fullrelease) command of zest.releaser creates a (subversion or other) tag, checks out this tag, creates a source distribution (sdist) and uploads it to PyPI. When zest.pocompile is added to the mix, it compiles the .po files immediately after checking out the tag, right in time for creating the sdist, which should now contain the .mo files.


This package has been cobbled together by Maurits van Rees.

It depends on the python-gettext package, which itself suggests using the Babel package, but it does exactly what we need and its releases are stored on PyPI, so we ignore that suggestion.

The main functions are taken from the build_mo command of collective.releaser.


To Do

  • Add tests.


1.2 (2011-12-16)

  • Added a larger example of a file in the readme. Also add a in zest.pocompile itself, so the CHANGES.txt is included in the source distribution. [maurits]

1.1 (2011-12-15)

  • Look for .po files in any LC_MESSAGES directory. It no longer matters if this is contained in a language directory within a locales or locale directory, as they could also have names like plonelocales or locales_for_version_2_only. Note that in Plone .po files can also be in an i18n directory, but those should not be compiled; this does not have a LC_MESSAGES directory, so we automatically skip it. [maurits]

1.0 (2010-10-19)

  • Initial release

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