I continue to work on SignPuddle development. Building up the
pieces one at a time and connecting them together, layer upon
layer. I've had some tremendous success with the database and with
API access. I'd like to share my latest achievements. I apologize
that the details are technical. Eventually, these details will be
covered up by easy to use graphical interfaces.
Today, I release a new version of the SignWriting Icon Server. It
includes a shiny new API: application programming interface. An API
allows others to access our data with modern web technologies. I
currently only have the English/ASL dictionary loaded from
SignPuddle. I am still working on the database and I will load
additional puddles in the near future.
So what can the API do? A user requests data and the API returns
If you visit http://SignPuddle.com you can try it yourself. The top
of the page has a rudimentary front end that allows you to access
The first input box allows you to search by spoken language. If we
search for "hello", we will see the following results.
The second input box allows you to search by sign language using
Formal SignWriting or a query string. If you have a sign encoded
with FSW that you found online, you can process that sign with the
API. Let's consider the following FSW string:
Visualize will show the sign image.
Query will search the database for similar signs.
Reverse will search for spoken language equivalents for similar
The query strings are very powerful, but esoteric. A graphical
interface will help, but for now, here is a quick example. Using
the ISWA HTML Reference ( http://signbank.org/iswa ), we determine
that we are interested in signs with a particular hand shape (S115)
and the single contact (S205). These keys need a specific fill and
rotation, such as S115 with fill 0 and rotation 0 for key S11500 or
we can leave the fill and rotation unspecified such as S115uu.
The first query string we'll use is QS11500S20500
The second query string will leave the fill and rotation unspecified
for the hand shape with query string QS115uuS20500
So just a quick taste of things to come. Thanks for hanging in
there with the technical details. Query strings are detailed in
Modern SignWriting, section 9:
Questions or comments are welcome.