String review


For quite some time, the general inconsistency of strings in the various
GNOME modules has irritated me. For example, let's just look at some
strings in GNOME:

 "There already exists a file name '%s'.\n\nDo you wish to overwrite
this file?"

eog 1:
 "Overwrite file %s?"
eog 2:
  "A file named '%s' already exists."

 "A file %s already exists."

evo 1:
 "%s already exists\nDo you want to overwrite it?"
evo 2:
 "A file by that name already exists.\nOverwrite it?"

 "The file %s already exists.\nDo you want to replace it?"

gedit 1:
  "A file named \"%s\" already exists.\n"
gedit 2:
 "The file \"%s\" already exists"

 "The file \"%s\" already exists.  Would you like to replace it?"

 "The document \"%s\" already exists.  Would you like to replace it?"

 "A file called <i>%s</i> already exists in %s.\n\nDo you want to save
over it?"

 "A file named \"%s\" already exists.  Do you want to overwrite it?"

 "A file named '%s' already exists.  Are you sure you want to overwrite


You'll notice:
- the varying messagestyle: "[do] it?", "Would you like to...?", "Are
you sure you want to...?", "Do you want to...?". Is the file X, is it
'called' X, or 'named' X?
- the varying presentation of the message, i.e. how the variable data
(%s) is embedded in it: no quotes, single quotes, double quotes, pango

To fix this, I think we need:
- a String Guidelines addendum to the HIG. The HIG already tells us what
capitalisation to use in which circumstances; we need a complete style
- a database of all (present and past) string in all GNOME modules, and
ways to find 'similar' strings to unify
- a string review process to fix the existing strings as well as new
strings when they're are added.

Unifying strings will also make the work of translators easier by
reducing the number of strings to translate.

What do you think?


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