Hi SignWriting List,

Yesterday, I released version 1.2 of the new SignMaker.  There are a couple of great improvements and much wider platform support for desktops, tablets, and phones.

SignMaker Index page on SignBank:

Valerie Sutton is currently improving the SignMaker Index page on SignBank.  Thanks for your hard work Val.

SignMaker Project Page:

SignMaker and Fonts
I'm happy to announce that SignMaker now works without installing the fonts on your system. If you don't feel like installing the TrueType fonts on your system (Windows, Mac, Linux, or iOS) or you can't (Android), the fonts will automatically be downloaded to your browser's cache on the first visit.  Once the fonts are downloaded into the browser cache, any other SignWriting Font website will automatically use the fonts cached in your browser.  If you ever clear your browser cache, the next visit to a SignWriting Font website will download the font again and reinstall the font in the browser cache.  The fonts are 13 MB, so the first install make take a few seconds or longer depending on your download speed and processor.

I've tested Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS, and Android.  Nearly every browser works as expected, with 3 exceptions.  First, the default Android browser is not usable.  For Android, use Firefox or install the App.  Second, unless the system font is installed, for Linux you may require a browser refresh if a page doesn't load properly the first time.  Third, Chrome has issues with the font.

Chrome and Chromium Font Issue
There are minor and major font issues with Chrome and Chromium.  The worst is that 5 symbols are missing.  Specifically, S10008, S10009, S1000a, S1000b, and S1000c.  To see the issue in SignMaker, on the symbol palette, click on the main index finger twice and then press Mirror.  You'll see a gap in the palette.

I believe the problem is caused by certain characters on plane 16 of Unicode.  The affected codepoints are U+100009 thru U+10000D.  I will be researching the issue further and submitting a bug report to the Chromium development team soon.

SignWriting App
There is an App available for Android.  You can find information and download links on the SignMaker project page.

Small screen and the popup keyboard
There are a few usability issue for small screens, especially when the keyboard pops up.  These issues are with the SignMaker application itself, rather than the usage of the fonts.  Even for phones, the SignWriting 2010 JavaScript library and associated CSS work properly for nearly everyone.

Create Website that use the SignWriting Fonts
Using the SignWriting 2010 Fonts requires a small JavaScript library (17 KB) and a few CSS statements.  With these 2 parts, any website can show SignWriting to any viewer.

Future Development
Still lots to do.  I'm excited for the symposium this year.  I have 2 presentations to prepare.  One will cover SignMaker in depth for end users.  Another will talk about the technology behind the development.

A new SignText is coming later this year so that we can compose entire sentences in SignWriting.  It will be based on the new SignMaker code.



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