Hi List,

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 the results.

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 API.

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: AS18701S1870aS2e734S20500M518x533S1870a489x515S18701482x490S20500508x496S2e734500x468

Visualize will show the sign image.

Query will search the database for similar signs.

Reverse will search for spoken language equivalents for similar signs.

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: http://signpuddle.net/wiki/index.php/MSW:Regular_Storage_Form#9.B._Query_String

Questions or comments are welcome.