Magnolia 6.1 reached extended end of life on June 2, 2020. Support for this branch is limited, see End-of-life policy.

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In this tutorial, you translate the user interface (UI) of a Magnolia app to another language by creating a new i18n properties file for the language and adding the file to the app. Don't worry if you're not a developer. You don't need a development environment – all you need is language skills and Magnolia.

The app whose UI labels and messages you are going to translate is the Bookshelf app, created in the My first content app tutorial. The labels and messages are in English and in this tutorial you internationalize the app for Spanish-speaking users.


The Bookshelf app is meant to be run as an app in Magnolia, so first you must install Magnolia. Before installing Magnolia, check that the following system components are already installed on your system.


Magnolia needs a Java Runtime Environment (JRE) version 8 or higher. Type java -version in a terminal or command prompt. If the system reports a version number, Java is installed on your computer.

$ java -version
java version "10.0.1" 2018-04-17
Java(TM) SE Runtime Environment 18.3 (build 10.0.1+10)

If you don't have Java, install it:

 Mac OS X

Java is not pre-installed on Mac OS X 10.7 and later. Download the latest Java from Oracle.


On Windows you need a Java SE Development Kit (JDK). The Java Runtime Environment (JRE) is not enough because the Tomcat application server does not recognize it.

What is the difference?

  • JRE is for users who run Java programs on their computer.
  • JDK is for developers who write Java-based applications.

Download and install JDK. By default JDK is installed in C:\Program Files\Java\jdk-10.0.xx\. You can choose another location.

Check JAVA_HOME environment variable

  1. Open the command prompt.
  2. Type set and press ENTER.
  3. Find JAVA_HOME in the command output and verify that the path points to your JDK installation directory, for example C:\Program Files\Java\jdk-10.0.xx.
  4. If JAVA_HOME is missing or it points to the wrong directory, see Set JAVA_HOME environment variable below.

Set JAVA_HOME environment variable

  1. Right-click My Computer and select Properties.
  2. Go to the Advanced tab. 
    (In Windows 7+, right-click Computer and select Advanced System Settings, then Environment variables.)
  3. If the JAVA_HOME environment variable does not exist in User variables or System variables, create it:
    • User variables apply to the currently signed-in user only. Create JAVA_HOME here if you want it to apply only to the currently logged in user. These variables take precedence over system variables.
    • System variables apply to all users. Create JAVA_HOME here if you want it to apply to all users. You must be an administrator to modify a system environment variable. 
  4. Set the value of JAVA_HOME to the path of your JDK installation directory, for example C:\Program Files\Java\jdk-10.0.xx.
  5. Optional step: Add the Magnolia bin directory to the PATH variable, for example C:\Program Files\magnolia\apache-tomcat-x.y\bin. Setting the PATH allows you to issue the Magnolia start and stop commands from anywhere without navigating to the installation directory first. Separate the path from existing paths with a semicolon ( ; ). If you do this, you also need to add CATALINA_HOME to environment variables. Set the value of CATALINA_HOME to the Tomcat installation directory, for example C:\Program Files\magnolia\apache-tomcat-x.y
  6. Click OK.
  7. Go back to Check JAVA_HOME environment variable above and test that the variable is found and has the correct value. You need to open a new command prompt since environment variables are session specific.

Alternatively you can set JAVA_HOME with a batch file. Add this line to /apache-tomcat/bin/magnolia_control.bat:

set JAVA_HOME=C:\Program Files\Java\jdk-10.0.xx

The set command creates the JAVA_HOME environment variable and sets its value to the JDK directory. The command is executed when Magnolia starts.


Download the latest Java from Oracle. The installation directory varies from one Linux system to another. For example, on Ubuntu Linux 10 the OpenJDK Runtime Environment is installed in /usr/lib/jvm/java-10-openjdk/jre by default.


Download the latest Java from Oracle. You can install it in any directory such as /usr/java .


Magnolia CLI is an npm package providing a command line interface (CLI) tool to set up and facilitate light development with Magnolia. The Magnolia CLI tool runs on Node.js. If you do not have Node.js installed, go to Node.js and download and install the latest LTS version. 

To check the version of your node installation, run the following command in a shell:

node -v

Magnolia CLI

Run the following command in a shell to install Magnolia CLI:

npm install @magnolia/cli -g

Depending on your permissions and the location where you have installed Node.js, you may have to execute the command above with root permissions. Without installation permissions you will notice messages such as npm ERR! in the shell.

On Linux or Mac OS X to run this command as root use:

sudo npm install @magnolia/cli -g

If the installation is successful, you see the following or a similar output in the shell:

 Expand to see an example output of an npm installation

/usr/bin/mgnl -> /usr/lib/node_modules/@magnolia/cli/bin/mgnl.js

> spawn-sync@1.0.15 postinstall /usr/lib/node_modules/@magnolia/cli/node_modules/spawn-sync
> node postinstall

+ @magnolia/cli@2.2.0
added 209 packages in 11.40

Once you have installed Magnolia CLI, test the installation by running the following command in the shell:

mgnl help 

 Expand to show the output of mgnl help
Usage: mgnl <command> [options]

A tool to setup and facilitate light development with Magnolia CMS

  -v, --version           output the version number
  -h, --help              output usage information

  jumpstart               download and setup a Magnolia CMS instance for development.
  start                   start up a Magnolia CMS instance. To stop it, enter CTRL+C
  add-availability        add component availability.
  build                   scan a node_modules folder for npm packages with the keyword "magnolia-light-module" (in package.json) and extract them to a directory of choice.
  create-app              create an app.
  create-block            create a block.
  create-component        create a component and optionally add availability for it.
  create-content-type     create a content type.
  create-light-module     create a light module.
  create-page             create a page template.
  create-virtual-uri      create a virtual uri mapping.
  customize-local-config  extract "mgnl-cli-prototypes" folder and "mgnl-cli.json" file to customize CLI configuration.
  install                 install a light module from npm to the local Magnolia instance.
  search                  search for a light module on npm.
  tab-completion          install tab autocomplete feature for Bash, zsh or PowerShell
  version                 display mgnl and node.js versions
  help [cmd]              display help for [cmd]
  mgnl: 3.1.0 node: v8.10.0 os: linux


In this tutorial, you need  Git  to clone the Bookshelf app from our repository into your local Magnolia installation. You can check that Git is installed on your system by executing the git --version command. If it is not installed, go to page and install it.

Installing and starting Magnolia

Now install Magnolia.

Installing Magnolia

Use the jumpstart command to install Magnolia. This command downloads, unpacks and pre-configures a Magnolia bundle of your choice. 

The jumpstart command automatically creates a light modules directory for you in the current folder. If you already have a different directory that you want to use for light modules, use the -p option with the jumpstart command to specify the path to your existing light modules folder. For example: mgnl jumpstart -p /Users/<username>/<shared-projects>/light-modules/

To install Magnolia:

  1. Change to the directory to where you want to install the Magnolia bundle. For example:

    cd /Users/<username>/dev/
  2. Execute the Magnolia CLI jumpstart command:

    mgnl jumpstart
  3. Choose the magnolia-community-demo-webapp containing Magnolia Community Edition bundled with the Travel Demo and a Tomcat server. It creates folders for the Tomcat server and for the light modules according to the CLI configuration. 

    Once the setup operation is complete, you should see a message similar to this one:

    info Magnolia has been successfully setup for light development!
    info You can now open a new terminal tab or window and start it up with the CLI command 'mgnl start'
    info Magnolia will be ready after a few seconds at localhost:8080/magnoliaAuthor. Username and password is superuser 

    The following files and folders are created:

    ├── apache-tomcat/
    │   ├── bin/
    │   ├── conf/
    │   ├── lib/
    │   ├── logs/
    │   ├── temp/
    │   └── webapps/
    ├── light-modules/                
    └── downloads/

Start Magnolia

Use the mgnl start command to start Magnoolia. In the parent directory of light-modules, enter:

mgnl start

The command installs and starts Magnolia. This is complete when you see a message like Server startup in 112737 ms. You can then access the UI of the Author instance.

Log into the Author instance

Go to http://localhost:8080/magnoliaAuthor and log in to the Author instance with:

  • Username: superuser
  • Password: superuser

Installing the Bookshelf app

  1. Go to the dev/light-modules/ directory.
  2. Clone the bookshelf Git repository:

    git clone -b release/6.1 --single-branch
  3. Make sure the app is accessible in the App launcher: Open the Configuration app and verify that bookshelf-app is a subnode of the ui-admincentral/config/appLauncherLayout/groups/edit/apps node.
  4. In the App launcher, refresh your browser. The app should now appear in the Edit group.
  5. In your user profile, set the language preference to Spanish. Log out and into Magnolia again. Open the Bookshelf app. Only some of the labels are shown in Spanish. These are typically the more generic message and label keys coming from the UI framework:

Translating the app UI to Spanish

In the steps below, you add the missing Spanish translations:

  1. Go to the dev/light-modules/booshelf/i18n/ subfolder. Th file contains the English values for the app labels and messages
  2. Make a copy of the file and name it
  3. In the new file, translate the values from English to Spanish and save your work.

    We suggest you translate in an external text editor.
    If you open the file in the internal editor of the Resource files app, the resource becomes a copy in the JCR workspace that is prioritized by Magnolia over the original file on the file system. If you make subsequent changes to the file on the file system, your changes will not be taken into account. JCR configuration overrides file system configuration.

    Example translation:
    # App label
    # Book browser subapp labels.
    bookshelf-app.browser.label=Navegador de libros
    bookshelf-app.browser.actions.addItem.label=Añadir libro
    bookshelf-app.browser.actions.addFolder.label=Añadir estante
    bookshelf-app.browser.actions.confirmDeleteFolder.confirmationHeader=¿Borrar {0,choice,1#estante|1< {1} estantes}?
    bookshelf-app.browser.actions.confirmDeleteFolder.confirmationMessage={0,choice,1# Se borrará el estante selectionado.|1< Se borrarán los estantes selectionados.}
    bookshelf-app.browser.actions.confirmDeletion.confirmationHeader=¿Borrar {0,choice,1#libro|1< {1} libros}?
    bookshelf-app.browser.actions.confirmDeletion.confirmationMessage={0,choice,1#Se borrará el libro selectionado.|1< Se borrarán los libros selectionados.}
    bookshelf-app.browser.actions.confirmDeleteFolder.proceedLabel=Sí, borrar
    bookshelf-app.browser.actions.paste=Pegar del estante o Nombre de catalogación del libro de catalogación
    bookshelf-app.browser.views.listview.path.label=Localización del libro
    # Book detail subapp labels and descriptions.
    bookshelf-app.bookDetailsTab.label=Detalles del libro de catalogaciónÉste campo es obligatorio. Su valor se utiliza para crear un nombre único de catalogación de libro, el cual será visible en la subapp NAVEGADOR DE LIBROS y almacenado en el <i>books</i> workspace.
    bookshelf-app.bookDetailsTab.ed.label=Autor(es) en función editorial
    bookshelf-app.bookDetailsTab.ed.description=Marque la casilla si la función principal de "Autor(es)" es editorial.
    bookshelf-app.bookDetailsTab.title.label=Título completo
    bookshelf-app.bookDetailsTab.publish_date.label=Fecha de publicación
    bookshelf-app.bookDetailsTab.publish_date.description=Si solo conoce el año de publicación, introduzca la fecha en formato AAAA-01-01.
    bookshelf-app.bookDetailsTab.isbn13.description=Si hay un ISBN-13 disponible para el libro, introduzcalo sin guiones ni espacios.
    bookshelf-app.bookDetailsTab.isbn13.validation.errorMessage=El número ISBN-13 contiene 13 caracteres. Los 12 primeros caracteres solo pueden ser númeréricos, el último carácter puede ser un número o "X". El número tiene que comenzar con 978 o 979.
    bookshelf-app.detail.actions.commit=Guardar datos
    # Other messages and button labels
    ui-framework.actions.copyItem.successOneItemCopied=El elemento ha sido copiado.
    ui-framework.actions.copyItem.successManyItemsCopied={0} elementos han sido copiados.
    ui-framework.actions.pasteItem.success={0} {0,choice,1#elemento ha sido pegado|1< elementos han sido pegados} en {1}.
    confirmation.delete.yes=Sí, borrar
    confirmation.delete.modified.message=<b>Aviso</b> <br/>Los siguientes subnodos han sido modificados pero no publicados. Si se han movido de localization, no se eliminarán correctamente de las instancias públicas. <br/> <br/> Subnodos modificados:

    Note that the # Other messages and button labels section contains additional Spanish message keys. These have been added because they are defined in other Magnolia modules and affect the action, field, and button labels in the Bookshelf app.

Testing the translation

When you save the file, Magnolia immediately detects the change. Refresh your browser to see the new app labels.

Contribute your translations to Magnolia

Have you translated a Magnolia app? Join the Internationalization effort. Send us the translated .properties files. We will add them to the product.