Today I Learned

A quick deep dive into 'rake gettext:find'


I am using Ruby Gettext to manage translations. But today, when I ran rake gettext:find to update my PO files, none of them got updated.


The Investigation

After some digging, I noticed that Ruby Gettext defines one FileTask (a specific type of Rake task) per PO file, which delegates the work to GNU gettext.

FileTask looks at the timestamps of dependent files, and only executes the supplied block if any of the dependent files have a timestamp later than the file to update.

For example:

dependent_files = ["translations_template_file.pot"]
file "file_to_update" => dependent_files do
  # update the file

Why gettext:find was not doing anything

It turned out that gettext uses two FileTasks.

One to update the template:

files_needing_translations = ["file1.js", "file2.rb"]
file "translations_template_file.pot" => files_needing_translations do
  # update the translations template file

and another to update the PO file:

file "en-US/translation_file.po" => ["translations_template_file.pot"] do
  # update "en-US/translations.po"

The reason gettext:find did not do anything was because none of the files needing translation were updated, thus no PO files were updated.


> touch one_of_the_files_that_gettext_looks_at.js
> rake gettext:find