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Setting up i18n with TypeScript in Next JS Project

Setting up i18n with TypeScript in Next JS Project

As I was starting a new NextJS project, I planned to do it in TypeScript. Since I don't know TypeScript, my initial plan was to learn as I go. Comes the time I had to set up i18n using next-i18next plugin, and it was a bit problematic as there was no example for it on the official next-i18next repository. After I successfully learnt how to do it, I did make a PR for typescript example on the original repo but this is incase it doesn't get accepted.

Setting up next-i18next in a TS Next app, has 3 parts:

  • Setting Up TypeScript Next App
  • Adding Custom Server
  • Implementing next-i18next

Today we'll set up a simple Next app which will have two pages and an option to change language.

Setting Up TypeScript Next App

We'll start from a blank folder simple-typescript-i18n which we initialise with

yarn init

Then we add the following dependencies

yarn add @zeit/next-typescript next react react-dom

we'll also need some dev dependencies, lets add them

yarn add @types/next @types/react @types/react-dom typescript --dev

Now we add our two pages

pages/index.tsx :

import React from 'react'
import Link from 'next/link'

const HomePage: React.FunctionComponent<any> = () => (
    <div>
        <h1>Hello, World!</h1>
        <Link href='/second-page'><button type='button'>Goto Second Page</button></Link>
    <div>
)

export default HomePage

and

pages/second-page.tsx :

import React from 'react'
import Link from 'next/link'

const SecondPage: React.FunctionComponent<any> = () => (
    <div>
        <h1>Welcome To Second Page</h1>
        <Link href='/'><button type='button'>Go Back</button></Link>
    </div>
)

export default SecondPage

Then we create the following files in the root folder

.babelrc :

{
  "presets": [
    "next/babel",
    "@zeit/next-typescript/babel"
  ]
}

next.config.js

const withTypescript = require('@zeit/next-typescript')

module.exports = withTypescript()

tsconfig.json :

{
  "compileOnSave": false,
  "compilerOptions": {
    "target": "esnext",
    "module": "esnext",
    "jsx": "preserve",
    "allowJs": true,
    "moduleResolution": "node",
    "allowSyntheticDefaultImports": true,
    "noUnusedLocals": true,
    "noUnusedParameters": true,
    "removeComments": false,
    "preserveConstEnums": true,
    "sourceMap": true,
    "skipLibCheck": true,
    "baseUrl": ".",
    "typeRoots": [
      "./node_modules/@types"
    ],
    "lib": [
      "dom",
      "es2015",
      "es2016"
    ]
  }
}

to begin our project all we need to do is set up scripts in package.json, add the following lines to your package.json

"scripts": {
    "dev": "next",
    "build": "next build",
    "start": "next start",
    "type-check": "tsc"
  },

Go ahead and give it a run to check if everything is okay

yarn dev

visit http://localhost:3000 from your browser.

Adding Custom Server

To add next-i18next it's necessary to have a custom server running, for that we'll need to add the following package

yarn add express

and

yarn add nodemon ts-node --dev

after doing that we need to create our custom server, in the root directory create a folder called server, in that, create a file called index.ts

server/index.ts :

const express = require('express')
const next = require('next')

const port = process.env.PORT || 3000
const app = next({ dev: process.env.NODE_ENV !== 'production' })
const handle = app.getRequestHandler();

(async () => {
  await app.prepare()
  const server = express()

  // handle nextjs routing
  server.get('*', (req, res) => handle(req, res))

  await server.listen(port)
  console.log(`🚀 Ready on http://localhost:${port}`) // eslint-disable-line no-console
})()

and then a tsconfig.server.json file in the root directory

tsconfig.server.json :

{
  "extends": "./tsconfig.json",
  "compilerOptions": {
    "module": "commonjs",
    "outDir": ".build",
    "target": "es2017",
    "lib": [
      "es2017"
    ]
  },
  "include": [
    "next.config.js",
    "server/**/*.ts",
  ]
}

now all we need to do some changes in our npm scripts, refactor the following lines in package.json

"scripts": {
    "dev": "nodemon --exec ts-node --project tsconfig.server.json server",
    "build": "next build && tsc --project tsconfig.server.json",
    "start": "NODE_ENV=production node .build/server",
    "type-check": "tsc"
  },

give it a spin, to see if everything is working all right.

Implementing next-i18next

All that's left now is to add i18next, to do that we begin by adding the following package

yarn add next-i18next

next we add a file i18n.ts to our root

i18n.ts :

const NextI18Next = require('next-i18next/dist/commonjs').default

module.exports = new NextI18Next({
  defaultLanguage: 'en',
  otherLanguages: ['hi'],
  localeSubpaths: 'foreign', // locale subpaths for url could be none, foreign or all
})

now we add the i18next middleware to our server as well i18n configuration

server/index.ts :

const express = require('express')
const next = require('next')
const nextI18NextMiddleware = require('next-i18next/middleware')

const nextI18next = require('../i18n')

const port = process.env.PORT || 3000
const app = next({ dev: process.env.NODE_ENV !== 'production' })
const handle = app.getRequestHandler();

(async () => {
  await app.prepare()
  const server = express()

  // use the next-i18next middleware with our i18n configuration
  try {
    server.use(nextI18NextMiddleware(nextI18next))
  } catch (e) {
    throw (e)
  }

  // handle nextjs routing
  server.get('*', (req, res) => handle(req, res))

  await server.listen(port)
  console.log(`🚀 Ready on http://localhost:${port}`) // eslint-disable-line no-console
})()

next we add appWithTranslation HOC to a custom _app.tsx

pages/_app.tsx :

import React from 'react'
import App, { Container } from 'next/app'
import { appWithTranslation } from '../i18n'

class MyApp extends App {
  render() {
    const { Component, pageProps } = this.props
    return (
      <Container>
        <Component {...pageProps} />
      </Container>
    )
  }
}

export default appWithTranslation(MyApp)

next we add some translations, to do that we need to create a folder called static in our root, then add a folder called locales in static then add folders named with language codes in locales and add common.json files to them. In our case we'll be adding english as default and hindi as the other language

.
├── pages
│   ├-- _app.tsx
│   ├-- index.tsx
│   └-- second-page.tsx
├── static
│   └-- locales
│       ├-- en
│       │   └-- common.json
│       └-- hi
│           └-- common.json
├-- server
│   └-- index.ts
├-- .babelrc
├-- i18n.ts
├-- next.config.js
├-- package.json
├-- tsconfig.json
├-- tsconfig.server.json
└── yarn.lock

Add translations to common.json files

static/locales/en/common.json :

{
    "hello-world": "Hello, World!",
    "goto-second-page": "Goto Second Page",
    "change-language": "Change Language",
    "welcome": "Welcome To Second Page",
    "go-back": "Go Back",
}

static/locales/hi/common.json :

{
    "hello-world": "नमस्ते, विश्व!",
    "goto-second-page": "दूसरे पेज पर जाएं",
    "change-language": "भाषा बदलें",
    "welcome": "दूसरे पेज पर आपका स्वागत है",
    "go-back": "वापस जाएं",
}

then we refactor our two pages to include translation HOC, namespaces and translation function, also add a button to change language.

pages/index.tsx :

import React from 'react'
import { i18n, Link, withNamespaces } from '../i18n' // We replace next/link with the one provide by next-i18next, this helps with locale subpaths

const HomePage: React.FunctionComponent<any> = ({ t }) => (
    <div>
        <h1>{t('hello-world')}</h1>
        <button type='button' onClick={() => i18n.changeLanguage(i18n.language === 'en' ? 'hi' : 'en')}>{t('change-language')}</button>
        <Link href='/second-page'><button type='button'>{t('goto-second-page')}</button></Link>
    <div>
)

HomePage.getInitialProps = () => ({
  namespacesRequired: ['common'],
})

export default withNamespaces('common')(HomePage)

and

pages/second-page.tsx :

import React from 'react'
import { withNamespaces, Link } from '../i18n'

const SecondPage: React.FunctionComponent<any> = ({ t }) => (
    <div>
        <h1>{t('welcome')}</h1>
        <Link href='/'><button type='button'>{t('go-back')}</button></Link>
    </div>
)

export default withNamespaces('common')(SecondPage)

now all we have to do is make minor changes to our tsconfig.server.json to include our i18n compiled file as it is in our build folder

tsconfig.server.json :

{
  "extends": "./tsconfig.json",
  "compilerOptions": {
    "module": "commonjs",
    "outDir": ".build",
    "target": "es2017",
    "lib": [
      "es2017"
    ]
  },
  "include": [
    "i18n.ts",
    "next.config.js",
    "server/**/*.ts",
  ]
}

That's it we are done now you can go ahead and try to run, to see if everything is working.

And that's how you set up next-i18next with typescript in Next JS app.

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