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Re: [bug-gettext] lang-* tests

From: Bruno Haible
Subject: Re: [bug-gettext] lang-* tests
Date: Sat, 11 Jul 2015 16:07:43 +0200 (CEST)

Daiki Ueno wrote in
> By the way, I tend to think those lang-* tests might be pointless, since
> they check the system, not the gettext package itself. Perhaps it might
> be better to disable them by default.

These tests are not pointless. They serve 3 purposes:

  1) They are integration tests. They test the internationalization
     from the beginning (a source file with marked strings) to the
     end (the receipt of a localized message at runtime).
     In many of the languages / language runtime systems such tests
     with gettext are not part of the language package. Therefore they
     have to be here.

  2) They serve as a test for the documentation. If a test fails on
     some platform, with some version of PHP, Vala, or whatever, then
     - even if it's not the fault of the xgettext and msgfmt tools -
     you know that you have to update the documentation section of
     the gettext manual about the particular language.

  3) They serve as a reference: what options need to be passed to
     xgettext and msgfmt in order to make these tools useful for
     the particular language. This info ought to be contained in
     the documentation, but sometimes the documentation is too
     terse or may be misnuderstood.

Yes, the lang-* tests are portability hassles. Yes, when they fail,
most of the time the cause is not inside the gettext package.

But these tests are the ONLY thing that gives us confidence that
the integration between gettext and a particular programming language
actually works.

The hello-* packages have a different focus: not to test that
the integration actually works, but to provide the best practices
regarding code style, integration with Autoconf, etc.


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