What Is “printf” in BuddyPress?

There are “printf” statements all over the BuddyPress default theme. What do they mean?

Today, I decided to invest an hour into finding the answer to that question. Here is my answer.

In short, “printf” is php code used to help make themes display words and phrases from other languages. For a long answer and how-to, read this.

Here’s an example, in the BuddyPress default theme’s footer.php file, you will find the following line of code:

  
printf( __( '%s is proudly powered by WordPress and BuddyPress', 'buddypress' ), bloginfo('name') );

If you look at line #2963 in “buddypress –> bp-languages –> buddypress.pot”, you will see the same code as above.

Basically, these printf statements give us a central location to change certain “special” words and phrases across a BuddyPress website. For example, you might want to change all instances of “Login” to a different word (or language). You might want to change “Groups” to “Communities”, as the Custom Groups Name plugin does.

I am a beginner at this printf stuff, and that is as simple an answer as I can give right now. All you .pot and .mo gurus out there, please let me know if I misspoke at all. 🙂

Thanks!

4 Comments

  1. Julio Sepia on April 11, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Actually, “printf” itself doesn’t do any language stuff. It’s just a PHP function that prints things on the screen, just like the “echo” function. Many programming languages have a “printf” function to output text.

    The function that allows for language translation is the one that goes inside the printf. Yes, that’s a function, the __() function. What it does is translate whatever text you put inside and feed it to the printf.

    The code you posted could also be written as:
    _e(‘my text’, ‘file);
    which translates and then prints ‘my text’.

    Here you can learn more about how internationalization works in WordPress/BuddyPress: http://codex.wordpress.org/I18n_for_WordPress_Developers

    About the .pot and .mo stuff, it’s not that hard; using a program like PoEdit to makes it really easy to work with language files.



  2. Toby on April 12, 2010 at 9:01 am

    Thanks for the clarification, Julio!



  3. John James Jacoby on April 22, 2010 at 1:23 am

    We primarily use the printf and sprintf functions to provide variables within the core BuddyPress phrases that we can later fill with dynamic data.

    Stuff like user names and page numbers are great examples. The string may be something like:
    %s and %s are now friends
    …and what we’ll do is figure out which two user names just became friends, and put a user name where each %s is.

    %s means string
    %d means integer

    Then, when a pomo needs to localize that string, it can turn it into:
    %s y %s son amigos
    …and not need to all sorts of text replacement surgery to do it.

    Hope that helps! 😀



  4. ZZTop on June 24, 2010 at 12:49 am

    Jes, but it faled to translate “Name” on my site…everything else is translated but when looking at his profile my user see plain old english “Name” in stead of correctly compiled translation from mo file….how to fix that?



RSS From Toby’s Blog

  • Where uncertainty exists, don’t order specific.
    4 Idiot Case Studies with 2 simple age-old business lessons.
  • “Now THAT was a good meeting!”
    A single effective meeting can change the course of history for a company. Imagine if you could lead effective meetings EVERY DAY! You can, but it takes curiosity & practice. This article is a good place to start your journey to a more effective you.
  • Never Respond to RFPs & Custom Proposal Requests
    Y'all who work at normal 9-5 jobs don't need to deal with the B.S. that is an RFP process (or rather you get paid to deal with it). But us freelancers gotta deal with a whole big bag of schtuff when it comes to custom proposals. Here's my quick-and-dirty RFP filtering process that I use […]

More posts from themightymo.com

How to Restore a Deleted Amazon S3 Bucket

By The Mighty Mo! Design Co. | March 22, 2022

I ran into a rather serious issue recently: a human on my team (me) intentionally (but accidentally) deleted an Amazon S3 bucket that was serving files to a WordPress site. The solution to the problem follows: Cry when you realize you cannot restore a deleted S3 bucket. Search your computer, your co-workers’ computers, your former…

How I created a Local SEO-Driven WordPress website in 1 hour

How I created a Local SEO-Driven WordPress website in 1 hour

By Toby Cryns | February 28, 2022

This morning, I got curious about the competitiveness of a specific keyword in the Google Map (a.k.a. “Local SEO”). The Google map is this strange beast that I am particularly-curious about, because almost 100% of my customers live within a 10-mile bike ride of my house…and I’d like to have more customers so… The keyword…

WP Multisite a love story

WordPress Multisite – A Love Story

By The Mighty Mo! Design Co. | February 25, 2022

Rob says WP Multisite should be put out to pasture – I 100% disagree.

RSS From Toby’s Blog

  • Where uncertainty exists, don’t order specific.
    4 Idiot Case Studies with 2 simple age-old business lessons.
  • “Now THAT was a good meeting!”
    A single effective meeting can change the course of history for a company. Imagine if you could lead effective meetings EVERY DAY! You can, but it takes curiosity & practice. This article is a good place to start your journey to a more effective you.
  • Never Respond to RFPs & Custom Proposal Requests
    Y'all who work at normal 9-5 jobs don't need to deal with the B.S. that is an RFP process (or rather you get paid to deal with it). But us freelancers gotta deal with a whole big bag of schtuff when it comes to custom proposals. Here's my quick-and-dirty RFP filtering process that I use […]