[sw-l] SignWriting Software around the World

Valerie Sutton sutton at SIGNWRITING.ORG
Sat Sep 25 01:45:09 UTC 2004

SignWriting List
September 24, 2004

Dear SW List Members:
There are several SignWriting software programs being developed around
the world.

Looking back at SignWriting history...

1. SignWriter DOS
was the first typing program for SignWriting. It started in 1985-86,
designed by Rich Gleaves for the Apple 2e and 2c. It became a DOS
program, and version 4.4 is still used today.

2. SignBank
is a database program that makes it possible to sort SignWriting
dictionaries by Sign-Symbol-Sequence (SSS). It also establishes
official symbolsets, SignSpellings, sign-searches, and it provides a
printing tool for large multi-lingual dictionaries...SignBank started
as a stand-alone Macintosh program around 1988. There were two tiny
programs...SignBank I and II. SignBank I gave us dictionaries sorted by
words. SignBank II gave us dictionaries sorted by SSS. Considering how
tiny these programs were, it was amazing how much they could do. But
the world changed and they became out-of-date because the Macintosh
operating system changed. Then SignBank was re-designed for modern
computers, inside FileMaker Pro software, and is now for both Windows
and Mac...

3. Software from Brazil, including SW-Edit & Sign-WebMessage and others
All these will be useful programs that allow symbols to be dragged and
dropped, and they work with SWML, which was designed by Antonio Carlos
da Rocha Costa in Brazil. I look forward to working with these programs
in the future...

4. Software from Belgium, Switzerland, Greece....Sooo many good
programs....There was a Lisbon workshop where programmers came together
in Portugal, last May, and several of these programs were presented
there...I will be writing a web article about the Lisbon workshop,
hoping to post it October 1st...

5. Stephen Slevinski's SignWriting Programs
using the International Movement Writing Alphabet (IMWA)



The IMWA numbering system is the future. It provides a standardized
numbering system that will help all future programmers. The IMWA
version 1.0 was finished around the time that Stephen was creating
SignMaker...so SignMaker is the first program in SignWriting history to
use the IMWA. But the old signs that were already added to SignPuddle,
were not created with SignMaker...they were pasted in as graphics
before. So I am now going to re-create all the signs in SignPuddle, by
making them with SignMaker, so that the signs are no longer graphics,
but more like a real language, with symbols that can be understood by
software, because each individual symbol has a number in the IMWA.

I think it will be a great project. I am going to enter SignPuddle and
everyday, re-create around 5 signs with SignMaker, and upload them into
the SignPuddle dictionaries again. We can only upload now, from the
SignMaker program. So all signs in SignPuddle will eventually be
re-created with SignMaker...it will take time of course, since in the
ASL dictionary there are more than 3,000 signs!

And everyday I am going to share with you on the SW List, how I wrote
those 5 signs, and if you want me to change a spelling, I will be glad
to do so...a great way to review what we posted before...

Thank you, Stephen, for this wonderful tool!

Val ;-)

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