[Sw-l] Sutton SignWriting in 2017 - characters and fonts

Stephen Slevinski slevin at SIGNPUDDLE.NET
Thu Nov 16 23:35:28 UTC 2017

Hi SignWriting List,

2017 has been a great year for Sutton SignWriting and we're not done yet.

Today, I received excellent news regarding a grant to fund the Two-D 
font for SignWriting.

This proposal has been recommended for due diligence review.*

The Project Grants Committee has conducted a preliminary assessment of 
your proposal and recommended it for due diligence review. This means 
that a majority of the committee reviewers favorably assessed this 
proposal and have requested further investigation by Wikimedia 
Foundation staff.


The grant will be announced on Dec 14th, so fingers crossed.

Regardless if the grant is approved, it is a good sign that "a majority 
of the committee reviewers favorably assessed this proposal".

I'm very happy with Formal SignWriting in ASCII (FSW).  Stable since 
2012, it will always be available and useful.

Going forward, we're ready to move to a new character set: SignWriting 
in Unicode (SWU).  First published in July 2017, SWU is the final 
specification for naming signs.  It is 100% FSW compatible with easy 
bi-directional conversions.

It is already an improvement over FSW without the Two-D font. While SWU 
still looks like data, it is better than FSW.  FSW doesn't look like 
sign language at all.  Consider this sign written in both formats.

The above image is from SignMaker 2017 with the FSW view option 
enabled.  By default, SignMaker 2017 will only display the SWU at a 
larger size.

SWU is meant to be used in edit fields, applications, databases, and 
URLs.  The One-D font is available for SWU and the text looks like the 
examples above.  It still requires SVG for proper viewing.  When the 
Two-D font is available, the SWU characters will not look like a visual 
string, but the signs will look like signs.

Before the end of 2017, I plan to release an update of the Sutton 
SignWriting project and SignMaker 2017 with full SWU support. 2018 will 
be a year of transition to the new standard of SWU. 2019 will be a year 
of growth with SWU and the Two-D font.

These two changes are disruptive, but very beneficial.
1) Character update - FSW to SWU
2) Viewer update - SVG  to Two-D font

Better tools and software are on the way.  Thanks for your support and 




Valerie Sutton
SignWriting List moderator
sutton at signwriting.org

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