embedding ASL in pdf/html

Bill Reese wreese01 at TAMPABAY.RR.COM
Mon Mar 22 15:21:36 UTC 2010

Alan, maybe it would be good to look at Adam Frost's site for how to 
display Signwriting on a website:


Alan Post wrote:
> Hello Steve, Valerie, and the rest of the list,
> My name is Alan Post.  I was introduced to Sign Writing last night,
> doing some research for a creative commons project of mine which
> involves recording ASL signs both in print media (pdf), html, and
> eventually physical signposts.
> I don't think I can adequately express how wonderful it is to find
> Sign Writer.  My previous plan for recording ASL signs was to
> purchase a copy of Poser, which is character modeling software, and
> animate the signs myself.
> I have suddenly found the scope of my project go from "learn Poser,
> make a convincing pose for every word I need, render to an image,
> and annotate the image to add gesture hints." to "figure out how to
> talk to the Sign Puddle server."  Building on the work you've done
> is easily an order of magnitude less work for higher quality results.
> Thank you thank you thank you thank you.
> I spent last night learning as much as I could about Sign Writing,
> and I could really use some orientation.  I have the following "next
> steps" that I would like to perform, to teach me how to interact
> with the Sign Writing infrastructure and to begin integrating it
> into my own project:
>  * I would like to display ASL sentences on my website.  I'd like to
>    construct these sentences from individual words and control the
>    word layout locally.  I'd like the layout of individual gestures
>    making up a word, however, to be whatever sign puddle is programmed
>    to say they are.
>    I think I can use the dictionary to look up the word and copy the
>    created glyph to my server.  It seems I could also download a
>    copy of the server to my website and transcribe the CSS rendering
>    instructions directly onto my page.
>    Is there same way in which I could embed an ASL word into a URL
>    that when retrieved returns the image/glyph I'd like from sign
>    puddle server?  Can you help me better understand how all of
>    these pieces fit together?  Teach me to fluently access single
>    words from you server programmatically.
>  * I would like to render ASL sentences to embed in a pdf document.
>    The source for the document is TeX, and in my perfect world I'd
>    embed an SVG graphic in my document.  In this usage, I have three
>    different font sizes and would like to scale my ASL sentences to
>    match my English font.  As well, I need to display these
>    sentences in right-to-left order to match the flow of non-ASL
>    text in the document.
>    I see that there are SVG base glyphs available.  Is there a way I
>    can mix these together like the PNG base glyph files can be turned
>    into a word by arranging them in space using css?  Can I generate
>    SVG graphic files of words and sentences?
>    The rest of my pdf document will scale, so I can print them four
>    to a page, poster size, &c and the fonts will still look nice.
>    I'm hoping I can embed ASL words into these documents in a
>    scalable format to preserve the ability to scale my documents, but
>    I haven't figured out whether this is possible yet.
> I would be delighted if, by the end of the day, I had my first page
> with ASL sentences uploaded to my website, and by the end of the
> week had succeeded in embedding svg or png graphics of signwritten
> ASL words into my pdf.
> May I have some guidance understanding where to go from here?  My
> fingers tremble to write some ASL!
> -Alan
> PS: I'm a software developer, and really don't mind as many
> technical details as you would like to provide.  I'll understand
> things better if you literally describe the technology, rather than
> trying to simplify it through metaphor.  No detail of how this stuff
> works will bore me: I'm tremendously impressed by just how well
> engineered it is, from the study I've given it so far.


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