GWT2.1 UI Binder internationalization


Building an internationalized application with GWT and UI Binder requires some steps to be followed:

  • For every <ui:UiBinder> tag inside each view, the following attributes need to be provided

  • <ui:UiBinder xmlns:ui=''

    Values can differ for the attributes. A more detailed use of these fields can be found at
    GWT official documentation

  • Text inside the client views (the “*.ui.xml” files) that is to be translated needs to be surrounded by
    the tags <ui:msg></ui:msg>
  • For this tag, the “description” attribute must always be provided

  • The GWT compiler can now generate .properties files for holding translations.
    For this, the compiler must be given an-extra parameter.
  • This will be created relative to the project path, and will hold a .properties file for each of the ui xml views, and other generated files.
    It is not enough to run the project with the “-extra” parameter, it needs to be compiled in order to generate the .properties files.

    At this point we have the generated .properties files, and we can write the actual translations inside them. But they will only be considered if they will be moved in the same directory as the UI templates themselves.

    The following steps are optional, but they help in organizing these .properties files into one single unit.

  • There is a python script at google code which takes care of merging the .properties file
  • Because these generated .properties file have long names and because there can be many resulting files, one for each view, they can all be gathered inside one single .properties file for each language.

    These generated files will be merged into a single file. Note that this exact name is a requirement.
    This is the default file which will hold the fallback values for a translated string if there is no corresponding language file for the associated language.
    This means there can also be some other hand made files which respect this following rule name
    For example, for a german properties file, the name will be
    These files must be placed in the same folder the default is created.
    When the script is run, all the .properties files are populated with the default value for the translatable strings. But if we modify one of the translations, it will not be overriden when the python script is run again. It will be merged.
    Running this script implies having Python installed
    You can download python from here

    The script takes exactly two parameters:
    – the first one being the parent folder for the generated .properties file (inside extra directory)
    – the second one being this path “/src/com/google/gwt/i18n/client/” which must contain the
    “” file with this exact name.

  • The last step is to manually write the translated values inside the corresponding
  • When the script is run again, the already translated values will NOT be overwritten.
    Also, the adds comments for each entry, to help with managing the file.
    For a detailed information type “python –help” inside cmd

These steps are only fit for internationalizing the pieces of translatable text from inside the “*.ui.xml” templates. In order to internationalize any user message that the client code needs to send to the client, you can use the features provided by the Messages and Constants classes.
For more information, visit

After these steps, you can change the locale for the application by appending a “?locale=xx” at the end of the application url, and you should see, after a refresh, the application changing it’s locale.

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