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SignWriting List
May 10, 2013

Hello Steve and everyone on the SignWriting List!

Thank you for this detailed report on software development.

This is an exciting email. Maybe a little overwhelming for some of us here on the SignWriting List, since not all of us are programmers. So everyone…believe me I have been amazed watching all these developments. The Wikipedias in written sign languages, using SignWriting, require much programming and software development behind the scenes, and Steve has been working towards that goal for years now.

 It is exciting that Steve is invited to attend a software development conference called a "Hackathon" in the Netherlands. It takes place at the end of this month, in Amsterdam. I told Steve I thought the word "Hacker" was a negative word, but apparently no…the word Hacker can be good or bad - it really means a "really smart and skilled programmer". So the Hackathon conference brings programmers together who are developing software for Wikpedias and MediaWiki…

So as you can see in Steve's message below…we need to ask you all a favor…

Do you want a Wikipedia in YOUR written sign language? What about…

German Sign Language (DGS)
Brazilian Sign Language (LIBRAS)
Nicaraguan Sign Language (LSN)
Catalan Sign Language
Spanish Sign Language
Quebec Sign Language
Italian Sign Language
Maltese Sign Language
French-Belgian Sign Language
Flemish Sign Language
and others? I do not mean to forget any language...

I know signwriters from all of these languages have expressed interest in literature, so if you would like a Wikipedia for your sign language, now is the time to tell the Wikimedia Foundation, and we will make sure it happens for you -

So we are supposed to go to this web page to apply for your language:

> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Language_committee/Handbook_%28requesters%29#Making_a_new_request


So now…Steve….I am going tell you honestly …I just went to that web page and it looks scary…how does one apply in an easier way?

Can you help us apply for these languages?

So…those who want to apply for a Wikipedia in your sign language, please reply to this email on the SignWriting List and tell us…and then either you can do the application, or we can do it for you, depending on what is easier -

Thanks Steve, and thanks for all you are doing and enjoy the Hackathon in Amsterdam!

Val ;-)

--------


On May 10, 2013, at 9:50 AM, Stephen E Slevinski Jr <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Hi list,
> 
> I hope everyone's work is going well. I've been busy building an infrastructure and creating a path forward. So far we have a solid base started. A few more components and we will be prepared for explosive growth. I apologize for all of the frustrations and old infrastructure. I look forward to reintroducing the keyboard later this year.
> 
> 
> Amsterdam Hackathon
> ==============
> I'm excited to announce that I will be attending the Wikimedia Hackathon in Amsterdam this year: May 24th - 26th. Lots of information to learn and discuss.
> http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Amsterdam_Hackathon_2013
> 
> 
> I have 2 main goals. The primary goal is to enable sign language projects on Incubator using the new SignWriting MediaWiki Plugin. We'll be able to move the ASL Wikipedia Project to a fully supported platform and we'll be able to start other sign language Wikimedia project.
> http://incubator.wikimedia.org/wiki/Wp/ase
> 
> 
> There are currently 4 sign language requests to Wikimedia that are waiting on the technology.
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Requests_for_new_languages
> * Wiktionary American Sign Language
> * Wikipedia American Sign Language
> * Wikipedia British Sign Language
> * Wikipedia Finnish Sign Language
> 
> If anyone would like to show support for my trip to the Hackathon, please consider making a new request for a sign language project, either a Wikipedia or Wiktionary.
> http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Language_committee/Handbook_%28requesters%29#Making_a_new_request
> 
> 
> My secondary goal is to find a better way to implement SignWriting in MediaWiki software. In particular, I look forward to hacking the VisualEditor:
> http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/VisualEditor:Welcome
> 
> I leave in a week and a half. Below is a report for the current infrastructure.
> 
> SignWriting Text Infrastructure
> ==================
> The current infrastructure includes 4 parts.
> * draft-slevinski-signwriting-text specifications
> * TrueType Font
> * SignWriting Icon Server
> * SignWriting Thin Viewer
> 
> 
> draft-slevinski-signwriting-text-01
> ------------------------------
> A stable specification for the internet community. Yesterday, I uploaded a new version of the standards document. Both the ASCII and the Unicode strings have been stable since Jan 12, 2012. I will continue to improve the document until it is published as a Request For Comments (RFC), but the character encoding is considered final and will not change in this document. The SignPuddle Standard for SignWriting Text is stable and ready to deploy.
> http://tools.ietf.org/id/draft-slevinski-signwriting-text-01.html
> 
> 
> TrueType Font
> -------------
> Unfortunately, the TrueType Font is still experimental. Several issues involved. Once the font is perfected, we will no longer need the SignWriting Icon Server to create the SVG images.
> 
> 
> SignWriting Icon Server
> -------------------
> Monday, I published a release candidate for the SignWriting Icon Server on GitHub. Each installation generates a unique copy of the SignWriting Thin Viewer for use as a site script or bookmark.
> 
> The main public server is available on Wikimedia Labs:
> http://swis.wmflabs.org
> 
> A backup server is available on SignBank.org:
> http://signbank.org/swis
> 
> Anyone is free to install their own SignWriting Icon Server on a webserver or localhost with PHP, GD, and SQLite.
> 
> 
> SignWriting Thin Viewer
> --------------------
> A small stand alone JavaScript function (1.3k) uses simple HTML and CSS to fully supports the grammar of SignWriting. The thin viewer relies on the availability of a SignWriting Icon Server to generate the SVG images.
> 
> A much larger JavaScript library (44k) is available that creates the Unicode and wraps it in the appropriate HTML and CSS. This larger script relies on the availability of a working TrueType Font. As of yet, the only TrueType Font is experimental.
> http://signpuddle.com/index2.html
> 
> 
> Regards,
> ∼Steve
>