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–tools-locale in Flex 4.x.x is very useful, but…

with 12 comments

There is a new compiler argument in Flex 4.x. It’s –tools-locale. For example, specifying –tools-locale=en would instruct the compiler to output errors/warnings in English. The following is the output of “mxmlc -help tools-locale”:

-tools-locale <string>
specifies the locale used by the compiler when reporting errors and warnings.

Of course, the compiler, by default, uses Locale.getDefault() (i.e. most of the time, JVM -Duser.language). Having this compiler argument is useful for tool integration because a tool could use the OS default language but the compiler could output English errors/warnings.

But why wouldn’t developers choose to read compiler errors/warnings in their native languages and would like to have a way to configure the compiler to output in e.g. English? Is it because the translations are not good? Can someone please comment on the qualities of the non-English compiler error/warning messages?


Written by Clement Wong

July 21, 2010 at 3:46 pm

12 Responses

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  1. The translations aren’t understandable…

    At least, on Brazilian Portuguese I always fail to figure out what happened. First thing I do is fall back to English.

    Marvin Froeder

    July 21, 2010 at 3:56 pm

  2. First, we got used to English error/warning messages over the years of Flex development.

    Second, there is significantly more information available on the web when searching for extended explanation of certain English error/warning messages compared to error/warning messages outputted in other locales.


    July 21, 2010 at 4:22 pm

  3. I agree with the comments above. Localized error messages are a PITA since the translations are more confusing than the original English error. The vocabulary might be correct (although it might not make sense for us IT folks), but no-one ever uses these localized nouns and we are hence not used to them. And as stated above, we are so used to the English errors, why would we want to have them in our native language?

    Having this compiler option is great though, but I don’t think it should have been applied with the system locale by default.

    Christophe Herreman

    July 22, 2010 at 3:52 am

  4. I agree with previous commenters that localized error messages suck. If you ask me, they should be in English by default (and you should be allowed to use your locale, if you want). They suck not because they’re wrong -from the point of view of the language-, but because: a) They’re harder to figure out since they translate stuff that no one translates in “real life”. Yes, “desbordamiento de pila” is correct Spanish, but it got me thinking what on earth did it mean, until I figured out it was a “stack overflow”. And b), when I have an error I’m not familiar with, the first thing I do is copy/paste & google. If the message is in English is much more likely that I’ll find some useful info on it.

    Juan Pablo Califano

    July 23, 2010 at 12:56 pm

  5. Imagine how would you google for an error, if the message was in a language spoken by, say, 10 millions of people. Simple calculation will show that your chances to find the info would be 1:100 compared to English results.

    Lots of us work oversees, or on site, where the OS does not use the language we like or understand (this is exactly my case). I would cut my throat with a chainsaw if I had to deal with the errors in the language I barely understand ๐Ÿ˜€


    July 25, 2010 at 8:38 pm

  6. * Sorry, overseas, and the ratio would be 1:1000 — my bad.


    July 25, 2010 at 8:42 pm

  7. I’m getting Dutch error messages for Flash Builder 4 (SDK 4.1) and the reason I’m changing it back to English is the fact that 99% of the blog posts and resources on the web describe tips and tricks when you encounter (English) errors, impossible to find if you Google for the dutch version of that message.. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for pointing out the ‘-tools-locale’ option!


    September 23, 2010 at 5:52 am

  8. Another one problem, which is resolved with -tools-locale. Then I see errors of asdoc/mxmlc in Builders or FDT’s console window, I see squares instead of cyrillic characters. That makes me mad. Now you cured me, thanks a lot!

    Victor Kostin

    April 19, 2011 at 6:04 am

  9. I parse the errors to my users


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