[sw-l] challenge for programmers

Stuart Thiessen sw at PASSITONSERVICES.ORG
Tue Jun 21 23:40:26 UTC 2005

Hi Val!

A clarification on this: I completely agree that SWML is a valuable 
step to making SW searchable and easily transported. However, SWML as 
such does not handle the display of SW, only the storage.  So computer 
software that reads SWML will have to use some kind of display process 
to make the SW data visual.  This display process could use SVG images, 
PNG images, or a Unicode font to provide the displayed images depending 
on the program.  So, we need to separate the roles of SWML and display. 
  SWML only has to do with storage and retrieval of data, but not 

Until SW is finally in Unicode, SW is just graphics because that is the 
only display mechanism we have for SW.  The value of SWML is that we 
are now able to search it with a variety of programs. SW-DOS by 
comparison probably could have been equally as searchable but because 
of its binary format, that made it much more difficult compared to 
SWML. But search capability and display capabilities are two different 
"animals".  The value of Unicode is simply this: hearing people will 
probably not fully appreciate SW until it is available in Unicode and 
it is able to be composed just like spoken languages (in a manner of 
speaking). This is simply because it takes much less room to store 
Unicode symbols than it does to store graphic images.  The display 
happens either way, but I'm talking here more about "political" respect 
or the perceived reality of SW's status as a genuine writing system.

Also, the use of Unicode will not make SWML obsolete.  In fact, I think 
that SWML will be even more useful because instead of having special 
code numbers in the markup, we can actually embed the Unicode character 
for that SW symbol. This will make SWML files more compact and more 
easily read and further enhance its usefulness.  But that is a little 
more down the road until funding and resources become available.  Once 
funding is available, we can certainly begin work on it and then just 
wait on a final submission until we feel the IMWA is more stable.



On Jun 21, 2005, at 15:46, Valerie Sutton wrote:

> SignWriting List
> June 21, 2005
> Everyone -
> These are great discussions!
> Tomas...regarding Unicode...
> I feel that SWML...especially the SWML that is working in SignPuddle 
> 2.0, is quite wonderful....I hope Unicode happens someday, but as 
> Stuart says, it has to wait for the IMWA to be finished. But the SWML 
> that Steve Slevinski has developed, based on Antonio Carlos' original 
> SWML and stretched to become more dynamic...makes SignWriting no 
> longer just graphics, it becomes searchable sortable language...so 
> Unicode is not the only way to make SignWriting become written symbols 
> instead of pasted graphics...
> Many thanks to SIL and Stuart Thiessen for taking on the Unicode 
> project for us, because I could no longer do work on Unicode with 
> Michael Everson as I did years ago...
> If in my lifetime we can get the IMWA to write DanceWriting, 
> SignWriting and Mime Writing in the dynamic way we have written it by 
> hand for 30 years, then my job is done, and I will leave Unicode for 
> future generations ;-)
> There are so many excellent programs under development and I bet 
> sooner or later Unicode will get done -
> Val ;-)
> ------------------
> On Jun 21, 2005, at 5:29 AM, Stuart Thiessen wrote:
> Hi, Tomas!
> That is something that my organization (Pass It On Services) is very 
> interested in. With Valerie's approval, we have been working to build 
> a team to do something in this area.  The key issues have been working 
> out some of the technology questions and finding the funding to pay 
> for people's time to design the font and work on the various other 
> elements of a solution. Some experts in this kind of work like Michael 
> Everson and the Summer Institute of Linguistics are very willing to 
> help but we have the issue of finding funding to support the project.
> I have also felt that we need to give the IMWA some time to settle.  
> While Valerie's system is very flexible, Unicode is not as flexible if 
> you want to keep the symbols in "sorting order".  If a new symbol is 
> needed, it will be harder to insert it in the middle of an established 
> Unicode ordering. Giving the IMWA time to settle and time for us to 
> evaluate the system to see what else is needed is an important step in 
> this process, I think.  In the meantime, I hope to see what we can do 
> to work on the other aspects of it so that when it seems like we have 
> a good basis for this, we can move forward on it.
> If anyone on the list has any suggestions on where to find funding for 
> this project, we would love to move forward on it.  We have a list of 
> foundations here in Iowa that we are planning to contact but most of 
> it is small grants.
> Thanks,
> Stuart
> On Jun 21, 2005, at 2:49, Tomáš Klapka wrote:
>>  IMVHO there is need of:
>>  - standard (adding IMWA into the Unicode)
>>  - fonts (vector fonts /TrueType/)
>>  - input method (create system /windows,linux,.../ compatible input 
>> methods)
>>  What is the state of standardization of IMWA and process of 
>> including IMWA into the Unicode?
>>  I think it is the most important step.
>>  And what about creating of TrueType fonts for IMWA? AFAIK it is just 
>> pictures now, which is almost unable to use in standard applications. 
>> TrueType is vector type and it is possible to change size of the text 
>> without lost of rendering quality.
>>  Is there any core team to work on these issues?
>>  Tomas
>>  Lucyna Dlugolecka wrote:Imagine the world in 2015. ;-)
>>> SW is known by the Deaf in most countries of the world, they can 
>>> write in their SLs, read books in SLs and even read news in SLs on 
>>> the web. And can they use Google to search for SL words within SW 
>>> pages? Ha! :-)
>>> Programmers, now you see what the challenge for you is :-)
>>> Lucyna
>>> GG 3618151 SMS +48505273292
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