Hi Stefan,
On 10/8/2014 8:43 AM, Stefan Wöhrmann wrote:

Hi Jonathan ,


I read your announcement with great interest.


Hm – I have to admit that I do not understand the concept, the idea, the advantage – perhaps you can explain that a little bit more?

Let my try to explain it some more, but if you have more questions please don't hesitate.

As you know now in SignPuddle to write a sign you would use SignMaker
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Where you choose symbols using the mouse in the 6 X 16 grid.

The same with writing a document
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But with the added ability to write several signs and place them in any of three lanes.

So I want to use Kickstarter to raise money to pay for my work to make a SignWriting Keyboard which can be an alternative to the SignMaker and the SignText Editor.  It will immitate closely as possible to SignWriter Dos and people like you who have use it extensively will be really important in helping me along the way as the work progresses.  And also pointing out any possible improvements over SignWriter Dos

You show the picture of the SignWriter DOS keayboard. Ha – I  remember so many situations that are connected with my long hours to learn and to practice working with this program. So many emails und calls and questions to get the printouts at that time. (Hi Valerie – thanks again for your kind support in 1999 )

Today there are not so many experts who know about all the details and advantages and the workflow... Well I am one of these...

Well I look foward to a lot of input from you then .... :-D


Now we do have SignPuddle – the online dictionary pool for single entries for several countries.


We can make new signs with Signmaker and use these signs within different other Software – as we do with our delegs programm


I understand that your projekt is not easy to achieve and that it will  take long hours of programming. In the end you will be able to design/create/make a new entry but instead of using the mouse you can use the keyboard. Is that what you want me to understand?

Yes that is correct.  You will be able to use the keyboard instead of the mouse in this keyboarding option.  But the previous functionality of SignMaker and the SignText Editor will still be available as always to use the mouse.

The result will be the same. There is another entry in the dictionary and now you can use some kind of translation option of SignPuddle or delegs in order to create a new SignWriting document written from top to down or from left to write (which is very important to me if it comes to using these documents within the context of education.)

Yes it can be another entry in the dictionary Puddle or a full document to the litterature Puddle it will be able to do either one.  Then you would use it as you always have from there.


The DOS - keyboard design asks for pretty much experience if you want to create new signs quickly. Compared to that it is much easier especially for beginners to pick a given symbol from a visually presented collection of symbols.

If I understand you correctly, you are saying that the keyboard has a steep learning curve and can be slower at first. 

So you feel that 6X16 Grid visual presentation of symbols in SignMaker and the SignText Editor is easier for beginners?

If the keyboard was always showing and the symbols were always visually presented on the keyboard would this be the best of both worlds?


The nice thing of the keyboard is that you can moove the individual signs exactly up und down and sideways – which is often a problem if you are dependend on the mouse.

So is moving the signs exactly up and down what you miss most about SignWriter DOS?


Well you see – I would love to understand the goal, the idea that this new effort in creating a next generation of SW-Software is of advantage compared to the time and costs you invest.

I am not planning on creating a full SW-Software here.  Just a piece that can be easily incorporated into current and future web sites.

It is also an effort to help people like André Thibeault who would prefer to type in the signs instead of using a mouse.

He wrote:

Stefan, here is my answer: I mean that I intent to use a keyboard only for typing SW sign language. I would like to write again and again many LSQ sentences in many new documents without having to use the Translation Feature (SignPuddle). In a similar way, I use Microsoft Word to write texts in French in my documents. If the program developer does not offer the possibility to use a keyboard to type SW sign languages, I will be bored to use only a mouse for creating many SW LSQ words in dictionary entries.

So this project is to adress this issue.


Nevertheless I love to see all these different projects around this wonderfull invention to be able to write and read SignLanguage which has not been possible this way before Valerie shared her genious invention with the world.

Yes Valerie's work has been a blessing world wide.  Thank once again Val!! :-)



All best










Von: SignWriting List: Read and Write Sign Languages [mailto:[log in to unmask]] Im Auftrag von Jonathan Duncan
Gesendet: Dienstag, 7. Oktober 2014 17:58
An: [log in to unmask]
Betreff: Signwriting keyboard Kickstarter project idea


Hi List,
        I have seen that over the years the request for a keyboarding feature like SignWriter DOS has been asked for over and over and over ...  And we still don't have it.  Back in 2010 Val suggested that I implement it in SignWriter Studio.  At that time I was unable as I was getting the program up and running.  So know I want to implement the keyboarding feature but I am thinking that it would be most useful for all of you if I did it for the web then ported it back to run in SignWriter Studio at a latter date.
My idea is this create a Kickstarter project to raise the funds to make the program. It will be web page (SPA single page application) that can easily be included into other web sites.  It will be open source so that other programmers can modify it and add more features if they like.  Once I get it made then I want to incorporate it into Personal Puddle so that it will be very easy for Steve Slevinsky to add to SignPuddle online. (I am hoping he will be open to the idea).  Think of it as an alternative to the SignText Editor in SignPuddle.
These are the features I am thinking of implementing.
These are the features that we need to discuss 
These are the features that are not going to be part of this version of the project
For this to work I will need you help with letting a lot of people about our Kickstart project that that they may donate if they wish.  If you want make some YouTube videos or other SignWriting related letters or information that you think could help people see the importance of supporting this project then please send them to me and I will add them to our Kickstarter project page.  
For those of you who are wondering how Kickstarter works from the site itself https://www.kickstarter.com/help/faq/kickstarter+basics#faq_62996

A project is a finite work with a clear goal that you’d like to bring to life. Think albums, books, or films.

The funding goal is the amount of money that a creator needs to complete their project.

Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing. No one will be charged for a pledge towards a project unless it reaches its funding goal. This way, creators always have the budget they scoped out before moving forward.

A creator is the person or team behind the project idea; working to bring it to life.

Backers are folks who pledge money to join creators in bringing projects to life.

Rewards are a creator's chance to share a piece of their project with their backer community. Typically, these are one-of-a-kind experiences, limited editions, or copies of the creative work being produced.

We also have to think of what kind of rewards people in the Deaf community, people who use SignWriting and people unaquainted with sign language would appreciate most.
My take on 
Typing text into the sign (Alphabet Mode)
I know this is one of the VERY big reasons people want the Keyboarding.  I could implement it but I don't believe that SignPuddle has a way of representing text on top of the SignWriting.  So you wouldn't really be able to use it until someone writes a SignWriting web site that supports text with the SignWriting.
How important is it that text can be placed anywhere as opposed to let say only below?  How do we keep it from becoming messy switching between vertical and horizontal layout?
Look forward to all of your questions and comments.
Jonathan Duncan
SignWriting List
October 13, 2010
Hello Jonathan and Steve -
Thanks for these messages. Richard Gleaves is the developer of the original SignWriter program, which was first developed for the Apple //e and //c in 1986, and was then transferred and developed further in MS-DOS. SignWriter DOS was our world standard program from the late 1980s until 1996, when Richard Gleaves stopped working with SignWriting, and started working for Qualcomm, here in San Diego, California. So Rich lives close to me here, and I will be seeing him in the next month, so we can always turn to Rich with questions if you need his input. I also have his Source Code, for SignWriter DOS here, which I will be happy to send to you privately. The last symbolset that we were using, at the time that Rich stopped developing SignWriter in 1996, was the symbolset called SSS-1995.
Then, in 1996, I hired a company that was using a new development language very modern and cutting edge, called Java. it was new then, and there was not automatic way to program printing from Java yet, but I hired a company to transfer the SignWriter DOS code over to Java, but it took longer and was a harder job than the company expected, and they stopped doing the development. So the end result was SignWriter Java, which cannot print, and it is only for one country at a time (SignWriter DOS can switch back and forth easily between countries)...so because SignWriter DOS is more complete, most people who want SignWriter are most likely still using SignWriter DOS using DOSBox, which is required in modern operating systems.
However, having said that, SignWriter Java still has the same typing system (keyboarding)...but it created new features that are NOT in SignWriter DOS...the biggest difference between SignWriter DOS and SignWriter Java is that the Java version allows some mouse work, where SignWriter DOS is solely keyboard - no mouse capability whatsoever.
To learn about how to type using SignWriter DOS, read the documents on this web page:
SignWriter 4.4 Instruction (how to type)
(I can send you the source code if you want it)
To download the sources for SignWriter Java, go to:
SignWriter Tiger uses the sss-1999 symbolset. To learn about Daniel Noelpp Ly's programming of SignWriter Tiger, and to download his source code, go to:
The end result of all these beautiful programs were that between 1996 until 2004 when we met Steve, we had many developers graciously offer to help, but because the jobs were so enormous and more complicated than people expected, SignWriter DOS never got re-written well enough to become a modern typing program...
The typing system that Rich Gleaves and I designed works beautifully, and Steve was kind enough to implement some of the Special Command Keys from our design in SignWriter DOS, into Command Buttons in SignPuddle, for example for Rotate, which used to be the Rotate Key in SignWriter DOS, and the Mirror or Flop Button, that is the MIrror Key in SignWriter DOS...so I think users remember these details and recognize them from program to program...
If you would like to learn to type using SignWriter DOS, Jonathan, let's get together on Skype, and I can teach you one on one how to type quickly using SignWriter DOS. If you can implement the same typing system in SignWriter Studio, that would be a miracle and make your program the obvious choice for SignWriter DOS users, because you will have the best of both worlds - SignWriter Studio would become the alternative for SignWriter DOS users -
By the way, go to SymbolBank for downloading these different symbolsets from over the years...
Sutton's SymbolBank
Val ;-)
On Oct 13, 2010, at 11:16 AM, Jonathan y Yolaine wrote:
> Hi Steve,
>     Thank you for filling me on this information. 
>     Which of the two programs in your opinion has the most users?  SignWriter DOS or SignWriter Java?  Which created the most documents?  
>     So if I understand correctly SignWriter DOS still has SSS-95 symbols.and SignWriter Tiger has SSS-99.  
> Do you know what kind of format SignWriter Tiger is using?  Is it a binary file too?
> Do you know if there is source code for SignWriter DOS?  If it's available, it would be a lot easier to figure out how to read the binary file.  What language was that programmed in anyway? C? 
> So I guess if we were to read the SignWriter DOS files to convert to BSW or a XML format to be used with other programs, we would need to first figure out how to read the files and then write a conversion algorithm from S-95 to ISWA2010.  Going the other way would be counter productive because SSS-95 is a much more limited symbol set and a lot of symbols in ISWA 2010 do not have a corresponding symbol in SSS-95.
> Jonathan
> On 10/13/2010 11:08 AM, Steve Slevinski wrote:
>>  The SignWriter keyboarding style is great.  There is a steep learning curve that is worth the effort to learn.  There are multiple layers of fine tuning that went into the SignWriter keyboard design over the years.  Valerie and Richard Gleaves spent years improving the flow using a detailed symbol editor that controlled the default behaviors for centering and cursor controls.  Different symbols needed different information that had to be manually created. 
>> Unfortunately, SignWriter Dos uses dense binary files to store and retrieve information.  There was a tool released to convert SignWriter Dos SSS-95 binary files to SignWriter Java SSS-99 data files. 
>> I believe SignWriter skipped SSS-2002.  I think SW-Edit uses the SSS-2002. 
>> I started using the SSS-2004 symbol set, which became known as the IMWA. 
>> The conversion between the IMWA and the ISWA 2008 is about 99.99% accurate.  Some symbols are slightly off center. 
>> The conversion between the ISWA 2008 and the ISWA 2010 is flawless. 
>> Keyboarding should return.  Eventually, we'll need to create an advanced symbol editor for the ISWA 2010 so that we can capture and process specialized symbol information for keyboarding.  This will fine tune the keyboarding experience and improve a writer's speed and accuracy. 
>> Regards, 
>> -Steve 
> -- 
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