Supporting RTL languages

When supporting multiple languages you might include a language which features a different reading direction – not left-to-right (ltr) but right-to-left (`rtl). To support and display these languages properly some adaptions are necessary.

Setup language

The first step is to specify the reading direction when setting up languages. To do so, add an directionentry to your language array with a value of rtl for right-to-left or ltr for left-to-right (default).

c::set('languages', array(
    'code'    => 'ar',
    'name'    => 'Arabic',
    'locale'  => 'ar_EG',
    'url'     => '/ar',
    'direction' => 'rtl'

Add body class

The second step is to add the reading direction as a body class e.g. in your header snippet. To get and be able to output the current language's reading direction use $site->language()->direction().

<body class="<?php echo $site->language()->direction() ?>">

Modify your CSS

The biggest changes have to be made to your CSS. First you need to specify the reading direction for the body element when the rtlclass is applied:

body.rtl {
  direction: rtl;

Then you have to mirror every horizontal CSS layout positioning, alignment, padding, margins from left to right and from right to left, when body.rtlis applied:

/* left to right */
div {
  position: absolute;
  top: 0;
  left: 0;
  margin-left: 2em;
  padding: 1em 3em 1em 0;
  border-right: 1px solid #eee;

/* right to left*/
body.rtl div {
  right: 0;
  margin-right: 2em;
  padding: 1em 0 1em 3em;
  border-left: 1px solid #eee;