[sw-l] Vertical and Horizontal Writing, Sign-Poetry

Stephen Slevinski slevinski at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Fri Dec 10 14:40:16 UTC 2004

Sandy and list,

Sandy wrote:
>> There's no need to store lane information in the
>> user's document, the symbol position is enough.
>> Otherwise the programmers will run into technical
>> challenges with having to do special processing
>> to allow for lanes all the time.

>> Lanes should be implemented in the user interface
>> as a facility for positioning signs. But the lane
>> information shouldn't be stored in the users' documents.

Couldn't disagree more.  There is no other place to store the lane
information than in the document itself.  If you write a document with
lanes, you can use that document many ways.  In theory, you can send an
email, generate HTML code, or create a PDF file.

Sandy wrote:
>> SMWL is already an unnecessary complication as far
>> as document storage goes (although as I said, for a
>> dictionary application it's probably the best solution).

Couldn't disagree more.  SWML is not a complication, it is a reflection:
symbols at positions to form signs placed in lanes.

Sandy wrote:
>> No, they can both [oral and signed languages] be
>> expressed as strings of characters from their respective
>> fonts - they're essentioally the same.

I'm getting really confused.  Are we talking about SignWriting?  I don't
understand this string of characters for SignWriting.  Two ideas come to
mind, SWML or the build format.  SWML is a string of characters.  If you
don't like the markup involved in the SWML, you still need the XY
coordinates (or something else) for positioning.  The build format that I
use is a string of characters.  If the symbols where available as a font,
you could replace the sss-IDs with the actual symbols.  The "space"
character between signs that you talked about is the new line character.
Here is an example...

[See attached file for how this looks in SWML.]

Each and every symbol requires positioning information.  I would be
interested in seeing an example of what you are talking about when you
mention a string of characters.  Perhaps you can use paint or some graphics
program to create an example.

Sandy wrote:
>> I hope I don't sound like I'm disparaging anybody's work!

I hope I don't either.

Sandy wrote:
>> I still think it's important to say this now for any
>> programmers who may be starting out on something and
>> think that they're supposed to use SWML as standard,
>> the way I thought I was supposed to use the IMWA as standard.

Couldn't disagree more.  Both SWML and the IMWA are important standards.
You should have an alternative ready before you tell people to ignore the

In my opinion, all current SignWriting applications should use the IMWA (or
a subset).  At this time, there is no other acceptable alternative.  While
using SWML is not mandatory, being able to import and export SWML should be

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