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Migration guide from 3.x to 4.x

Backward incompatible changes

Minimal required versions are:

  • TypeScript (if used on the project): 4.1
  • Node: v16.x

If you encounter any difficulties during the migration process, don't hesitate to ask for assistance on the Lingui Discord server.

Extractor configuration changes

The big change in v4 is in extractor internals. Now it is less fragile, and doesn't depend on the host project settings.

For most projects, it should work without extra configuration as long as it is valid ES code.

extractBabelOptions is not useful anymore, please delete it from your config.

module.exports = {
- extractBabelOptions: { [...] }

I18nProvider no longer remounts its children on locale change

Previously, the I18nProvider remounted its children on locale change. This had the effect that the whole app was re-rendered with the new locale and all strings were rendered correctly translated. Apart from not being very performant, this approach had the drawback that the state of the app was lost - all components were re-mounted and their state was reset. This is not a standard behavior for React Context providers and could cause some confusion.

In v4, the I18nProvider no longer remounts its children on locale change. Instead, when locale changes, the context value provided by I18nProvider is updated and all components that consume the provided React Context are re-rendered with the new locale. This includes components provided by Lingui, such as Trans or Plural and also custom components that use the useLingui hook. This should result in a more predictable behavior.

If the changes to the I18nProvider pose a problem to you, please open an issue and explain what the problem is. Additionally, you can keep using the v3 implementation by copying it into your code base and using that instead.

No migration steps are necessary for components provided by Lingui, such as Trans or Plural. However, if you rendered translations in React components using the t macro, you need to be sure that the useLingui hook is called in the component, as seen here.

Hash-based message ID generation and Context feature

Starting from Lingui v4, hash-based IDs are used internally for message lookups.

If you use natural language as an ID in your project, for example:

const message = t`My Message`;

you will benefit significantly from this change. Your bundles will become smaller because the source message will be removed from the bundle in favor of a short generated ID.

If you use natural language as an ID and PO file catalog format, you don't need to do anything special to migrate.

However, if you use explicit IDs, like this:

const message = t({ id: "my.message", message: `My Message` });

there are some changes you need to make to your catalogs to migrate properly. In order to distinguish between generated IDs and explicit IDs in the PO format, Lingui adds a special comment for messages with explicit IDs called js-lingui-explicit-id.

Here's an example of the comment in a PO file:

#. js-lingui-explicit-id
msgid ""
msgstr ""

You need to add this comment manually to all your messages with explicit IDs or you can try a migration script that will convert explicit IDs from v3 catalogs to v4.

If you exclusively use explicit IDs in your project, you may consider enabling a different processing mode for the PO formatter. This can be done in your Lingui config file:

import { formatter } from "@lingui/format-po";
import { LinguiConfig } from "@lingui/config";

const config: LinguiConfig = {
// ...
format: formatter({ explicitIdAsDefault: true }),

Enabling this mode will swap the logic, and the formatter will treat all messages as having explicit IDs without the need for the explicit flag comment.

You can read more about the motivation behind this change in the original RFC

Also, we've added a possibility to provide a context for the message. For more details, see the Providing a context for a message.

The context feature affects the message ID generation and adds the msgctxt parameter in case of the PO catalog format extraction.

This also affects the orderBy with messageId as now the generated id is used when custom id is absent. To avoid confusion, we switched the default orderBy to use the source message (message) instead.

Message IDs in JSON minimal and raw catalog formats

Prior to v4, these formats used the source message as the message ID. Now they use the generated ID instead. So if you use these formats, you'll need to update the message IDs in your catalogs to the new hash-based IDs.

Here is a script that can help to automate this process. See #1700 for more details.

Translation outside React components migration

If you have been using the following pattern in your code:

import { t } from "@lingui/macro";

const myMsg = t`Hello world!`;

export function Greeting(props: {}) {
return <h1>{t(myMsg)}</h1>;

You will need to make some changes as this is a misuse of the library that actually worked in v3.

Due to the changes caused by hash-based message ID feature described earlier, this approach will no longer work.

Instead, please use recommended pattern for such translations:

import { msg } from "@lingui/macro";
import { useLingui } from "@lingui/react";

const myMsg = msg`Hello world!`;

export function Greeting(props: {}) {
const { i18n } = useLingui();

return <h1>{i18n._(myMsg)}</h1>;

Change in generated ICU messages for nested JSX Macros

We have made a small change in how Lingui generates ICU messages for nested JSX Macros. We have removed leading spaces from the texts in all cases.

The generated code from the following nested component:

<Plural id="" one={<Trans>One hello</Trans>} other={<Trans>Other hello</Trans>} value={count} />

was changed as follows:

- "{count, plural, one { One hello} other { Other hello}}"
+ "{count, plural, one {One hello} other {Other hello}}"
count: count

Flow Syntax supported in the Extractor with the flag

If your project uses Flow, you need to explicitly enable support in the extractor:

module.exports = {
extractorParserOptions: {
flow: true,

@lingui/cli/api/extractors/typescript was deleted

Extractor supports TypeScript out of the box. Please delete it from your configuration file.

No need to have NODE_ENV=development before lingui-extract

If your extract command looks like:

NODE_ENV=development lingui extract

Now you can safely change it to just:

lingui extract

Public interface of ExtractorType was changed

declare type ExtractorType = {
match(filename: string): boolean
- extract(filename: string, targetDir: string, options?: any): void
+ extract(
+ filename: string,
+ code: string,
+ onMessageExtracted: (msg: ExtractedMessage) => void,
+ ctx?: ExtractorCtx
+ ): Promise<void> | void

Read more about custom extractors on the Advanced: Custom Extractor page.

Configuration migrations for deprecated options were deleted

Migration for the following older options:

  • localeDir,
  • srcPathDirs,
  • srcPathIgnorePatterns,
  • fallbackLocale

were deleted from the source code. This should only affect users who are migrating from v2 to v4 directly.

Plural Rules now work out of the box without manual configuration

You can safely remove i18n.loadLocaleData calls because Lingui v4 uses Intl.PluralRules internally.

- import { en, cs } from "make-plural/plurals"

- i18n.loadLocaleData("en", { plurals: en })
- i18n.loadLocaleData("cs", { plurals: cs })

Don't forget to delete make-plural from your package.json.

withI18n HOC was removed

withI18n HOC was removed in favor of useLingui hook. Please use useLingui instead.

If you need to use withI18n in your project, you can copy the original implementation.