View Source Gettext for internationalization

For internationalization with gettext, you must call Gettext.put_locale/2 on the LiveView mount callback to instruct the LiveView which locale should be used for rendering the page.

However, one question that has to be answered is how to retrieve the locale in the first place. There are many approaches to solve this problem:

  1. The locale could be stored in the URL as a parameter
  2. The locale could be stored in the session
  3. The locale could be stored in the database

We will briefly cover these approaches to provide some direction.


Locale from parameters

You can say all URLs have a locale parameter. In your router:

scope "/:locale" do
  live ...
  get ...

Accessing a page without a locale should automatically redirect to a URL with locale (the best locale could be fetched from HTTP headers, which is outside of the scope of this guide).

Then, assuming all URLs have a locale, you can set the Gettext locale accordingly:

def mount(%{"locale" => locale}, _session, socket) do
  Gettext.put_locale(MyApp.Gettext, locale)
  {:ok, socket}

You can also use the on_mount hook to automatically restore the locale for every LiveView in your application:

defmodule MyAppWeb.RestoreLocale do
  def on_mount(:default, %{"locale" => locale}, _session, socket) do
    Gettext.put_locale(MyApp.Gettext, locale)
    {:cont, socket}

  # catch-all case
  def on_mount(:default, _params, _session, socket), do: {:cont, socket}

Then, add this hook to def live_view under MyAppWeb, to run it on all LiveViews by default:

def live_view do
  quote do
    use Phoenix.LiveView,
      layout: {MyAppWeb.LayoutView, :live}

    on_mount MyAppWeb.RestoreLocale

Note that, because the Gettext locale is not stored in the assigns, if you want to change the locale, you must use <.link navigate={...} />, instead of simply patching the page.


Locale from session

You may also store the locale in the Plug session. For example, in a controller you might do:

def put_user_session(conn, current_user) do
  Gettext.put_locale(MyApp.Gettext, current_user.locale)

  |> put_session(:user_id,
  |> put_session(:locale, current_user.locale)

and then restore the locale from session within your LiveView mount:

def mount(_params, %{"locale" => locale}, socket) do
  Gettext.put_locale(MyApp.Gettext, locale)
  {:ok, socket}

You can also encapsulate this in a hook, as done in the previous section.

However, if the locale is stored in the session, you can only change it by using regular controller requests. Therefore you should always use <.link to={...} /> to point to a controller that change the session accordingly, reloading any LiveView.


Locale from database

You may also allow users to store their locale configuration in the database. Then, on mount/3, you can retrieve the user id from the session and load the locale:

def mount(_params, %{"user_id" => user_id}, socket) do
  user = Users.get_user!(user_id)
  Gettext.put_locale(MyApp.Gettext, user.locale)
  {:ok, socket}

In practice, you may end-up mixing more than one approach listed here. For example, reading from the database is great once the user is logged in but, before that happens, you may need to store the locale in the session or in the URL.

Similarly, you can keep the locale in the URL, but change the URL accordingly to the user preferred locale once they sign in. Hopefully this guide gives some suggestions on how to move forward and explore the best approach for your application.