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16.8. Localizing Images

16.8.3. Discussion

The img( ) wrapper function looks for a locale-specific version of an image first, then a global one. If neither are present, it prints a message to the error log:

$image_base_path = '/usr/local/www/images';
$image_base_url  = '/images';

function img($f) {
    global $LANG;
    global $image_base_path;
    global $image_base_url;

    if (is_readable("$image_base_path/$LANG/$f")) {
        print "$image_base_url/$LANG/$f";
    } elseif (is_readable("$image_base_path/global/$f")) {
        print "$image_base_url/global/$f";
    } else {
        error_log("l10n error: LANG: $lang, image: '$f'");

This function needs to know both the path to the image file in the filesystem ($image_base_path) and the path to the image from the base URL of your site (/images). It uses the first to test if the file can be read and the second to construct an appropriate URL for the image.

A localized image must have the same filename in each localization directory. For example, an image that says "New!" on a yellow starburst should be called new.gif in both the images/en_US directory and the images/es_US directory, even though the file images/es_US/new.gif is a picture of a yellow starburst with "¡Nuevo!" on it.

Don't forget that the alt text you display in your image tags also needs to be localized. A complete localized <img> tag looks like:

printf('<img src="%s" alt="%s">',img('cancel.png'),msg('Cancel'));

If the localized versions of a particular image have varied dimensions, store image height and width in the message catalog as well:

printf('<img src="%s" alt="%s" height="%d" width="%d">',

The localized messages for img-cancel-height and img-cancel-width are not text strings, but integers that describe the dimensions of the cancel.png image in each locale.

16.8.4. See Also

Section 16.5 discusses locale-specific message catalogs.

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