The Translate APEX platform is almost eight years old now. Even though the list of languages officially supported by Oracle APEX grew substantially during this time, our solution still has something to offer the developers. What is it? How to use it? What more could be done?
A while ago I wrote an article about localizing and globalizing applications. One of the things I’ve mentioned there was our Translate APEX open-source project. However, after that blog post was published, it dawned on me that many years have passed since we launched that website, and some of you may not be familiar with it.
For this reason, I’ve decided to write a follow-up article focused on the subject of Translate APEX. I’ll tell you all about it and explain why it still might be worth using.
What is Translate APEX?
In 2015, Oracle APEX offered native support for only 10 languages: English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Brazilian Portuguese, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese.
The content of your database could be in whatever language you want. However, unless you used one of these languages mentioned above, the platform’s internal messages (you see them in Interactive Grids and Reports, for example) wouldn’t be translated. If you wanted them in a different language, you had to translate everything manually. It was an arduous and time-consuming process.
Since our native language is Polish – which wasn’t on the list – and we usually work in it, it was a problem we often had to wrestle with. So, we came up with an idea for a solution that would make these kinds of translations much easier. Translate APEX was our first major contribution to the Oracle APEX open-source scene. It wouldn’t be an overstatement if I said it helped shape our identity as a low-code development company.
But what is it, exactly? To put things simply, Translate APEX is a repository that currently contains Oracle APEX internal messages translated into 52 popular languages – many of which still aren’t supported by Oracle. These translations were created by the Oracle APEX community and you can very easily use them in your own work.
How to use Translate APEX?
Using Translate APEX is a very simple matter. Translating the internal messages of your app literally requires following just a couple of simple steps.
1. Download the translation you want
Visit the “Translations” section of the Translate APEX website, and choose the language that interests you. You can view details of each translation – such as the messages it translates and the version of APEX it was meant for – after you click the file. Download the file by clicking the “Download translation script” button and filling in the details. You’ll have to provide your Workspace name and Application ID, as well as specify the Oracle APEX version you work with.
After that, click one of the blue buttons to generate the script you need – either for APEX, IDE, or SQL*Plus. If you want, you can also download a CSV file to manually modify the translation.
2. Install the script
Now, simply run the generated script in APEX Workshop or your database IDE of choice. One thing to keep in mind is that if you run the translation script outside of the APEX context, your user account needs permission to APEX objects.
If you encounter any problems with charset encoding, you can try the following things:
- Check your IDE charset – we recommend UTF8
- Check your database and session charset – we recommend AL32UTF8
- Before running the script with SQL*Plus, remember to set the environment variable NLS_LANG=American_America.AL32UTF8
If you get a unique constraint error during the installation process, it means you probably have already added some translations to your app. Delete them and then try installing the script again. It’s worth noting that our installation scripts don’t update existing messages – to prevent you from losing your version of the translation.
Translate APEX – relevance in 2023
The list of languages officially supported by Oracle grew considerably since 2017 – from 10 to 31. It now includes many options known from Translate APEX but our solution still has a few aces up its sleeve – for example, languages like Farsi or Indonesian. Because of this, it can still be relevant to developers in some parts of the world.
Translate APEX is easier to integrate into your project, and installing a simple script doesn’t require any complex knowledge. It’s something that every developer can handle. Hell, even the so-called citizen developers – non-technical people who take part in the low-code development process – can use our solution with ease. This is important because it harmonizes well with the nature of low-code itself.
The future of Translate APEX
As you can see, while Translate APEX definitely aged and its relevance decreased thanks to the work of the APEX team, there are still some circumstances in which our tool can be useful.
To be honest, this waning relevancy is one of two main reasons why I decided to write this blog post. I want to ask you – the Oracle APEX community – if you still see value in Translate APEX. Do you want to use it in the future, or do you think what the APEX team did covers your needs well enough? Do you think it’s something that should be developed further? If that’s the case, what kind of additional features would you like to see?
And the second reason behind this article? This one is quite simple, actually – I want to thank the community for supporting Translate APEX all this time. I’m especially grateful to the few dozen people who uploaded their translations on the website. You can find their names on translate-apex.com, along with their work. Thank you! This project wouldn’t exist without your input.
Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org or message me on my @pstaniszewski Twitter profile, and let me know what you think. Feedback – of all kinds – is very welcome.
And, should you need any kind of help with low-code software development, our Pretius Low-Code team is here for you. You can book free consultations by using the contact form below.