Category Archives: Chinese

OOHanzi 0.7 released

OOHanzi 0.7 has been released.

As usual please refer to the documentation to know how to use it.

I have not been able to work on getting OOHanzi to work on OS X so I presume it still does not work.

List of changes:

* Updated packaging dependencies for Ubuntu 9.04.

* Performance improvements in “Mark Words Present In…”.

* Added support for variant readings when using “Mark Words Present In…/DDB”.

OOHanzi 0.6 released

Warning: OOHanzi 0.6 does not seem to be installable on Mac OS X. I have tried this week to install it on a Mac without success. I do not know whether previous versions would work or not.

OOHanzi 0.6 has been released.

Of all the releases of OOHanzi so far this is the one which has required the most work and which contains the most substantial changes. There are significant visible improvements but the bulk of the work happened under the hood and is invisible to regular users.
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OOHanzi and Open Office 3

I’ve tested OOHanzi in Open Office 3 and have good news to report:

  1. OOHanzi will work with Open Office 3 without modification.
  2. There was a bug in Open Office 2.x which affected only people using compiz. If compiz was running, all dialog boxes which were created by the Java virtual machine running in Open Office would be displayed smaller than they should have been. This bug crippled OOHanzi pretty badly. After testing Open Office 3, I found the bug has been fixed.

OOHanzi 0.5 released

Change Log

  • 20080628:

    • Updated for OOHanzi 0.5.
    • Added support for marking up words that are present in DDB.
    • OOHanzi is now fully installable in Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron).
  • 20080302:

    • Updated for OOHanzi 0.3: the only new functionality is the addition of an “About…” menu item.
  • 200802??:

    • Added some code to make things a bit more user friendly when a JRE is not properly installed.
    • Modified the way web browsers are launched.
    • Changed the nomenclature of menus and some functions.
    • General fixes to improve stability in Windows.

Status

This documentation deals with version 0.5 of OOHanzi. This software is very much at the Alpha stage of its life-cycle. Expect bugs. Expect nonsensical design decisions. Expect quirks.

Note: Version 0.4 was never officially released.

Imagine a paper even before it is at the draft stage, when it is still just a bunch of thoughts quickly put together. Or notes taken at a conference. At this stage, OOHanzi is very much the programmatic equivalent of that paper or those notes.

If you use OOHanzi and find it useful, please manifest yourself. If I do not hear from users I’m going to produce releases as I see fit and I’ll just cater ot my own needs.

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Summer weirdness

Well, the Mandarin intensive at UVA started yesterday. Small class (6 students). That’s good. For me though, the setting is a little weird.

This is my third summer language intensive. I took my second year of Hindi in an intensive summer program at Madison, WI. I took my 4th year of Sanskrit in an intensive summer program in Pune, India. Now I’m taking my first year of Mandarin in an intensive summer program at UVA. For the first two programs, I had to temporarily live away. In Madison, I shared a room with a student from Korea (who was studying something else than Hindi… I don’t remember what). In Pune I shared a flat with an American student who was also in the Sanskrit program. But UVA is where I’m doing my Ph.D. So for the length of the program, I’m just using the same old efficiency I was using during the past academic year. My lodging is the same. The university is the same. In the other programs, I was away from my wife for the whole duration of the program but during this program the isolation will be broken by weekend visits. Somehow, without having to live in a different city, it does not feel like a summer intensive. It’s not like I’m not doing all the work. I’m practicing my pinyin and my Chinese characters to death. There’s just some other intangible element missing.

Then there’s something more tangible missing: my friend Llerena. We took our first year of Hindi together and then went into the summer program together. After that, life took us into different directions. One day during the Hindi intensive, our entire class was walking together. I don’t quite remember what we were doing but what I remember however was that I was mumbling to Llerena that our path was not optimized. Of course, I meant optimized for speed towards our final destination. Instead of taking a direct but more boring route, we took the scenic route which meandered by the lake shore. Llerena just laughed at me and asked, grosso modo: What about how pleasant the walk is? Doesn’t that count? She insightfully pointed out how my obsession with optimizing for speed was flawed: optimizing for speed would have meant sacrificing other, more pleasant, aspects of our walk.

I should drop her a line…

OOHanzi on Ubuntu 8.04 (Hardy Heron)

I’ve started using Hardy Heron in its beta incarnation. Right now, it is not possible to use my repository to install OOHanzi on Hardy. The interface to install Open Office extensions has changed very slightly but that causes installation of my extensions to fail. A few notes:

  1. If you upgrade to Hardy form Gutsy, all the OOHanzi packages will be uninstalled.
  2. The packaging system will not prevent you from reinstalling OOHanzi on Hardy after you upgrade from Gutsy but the installation will get stuck. So do not install OOHanzi on Hardy by using the automatic method yet.
  3. It is possible to do a manual installation as documented here.
  4. It is possible to do a semi-manual installation by installing java-unihan-oosupport from the repository and then installing the oounihan and oohanzi extensions manually. The actual steps to perform this are left as an exercise for the reader.

I’m planning to fix this problem before Hardy goes gold but I have a lot of other things to do so I may delay the release for later. If you use OOHanzi and are just burning to move to Hardy, please leave a comment. It will incite me to do this faster.

OOHanzi 0.3 released

Change Log

  • 20080302:

    • Updated for OOHanzi 0.3: the only new functionality is the addition of an “About…” menu item.
  • 200802??:

    • Added some code to make things a bit more user friendly when a JRE is not properly installed.
    • Modified the way web browsers are launched.
    • Changed the nomenclature of menus and some functions.
    • General fixes to improve stability in Windows.

Status

This documentation deals with version 0.3 of OOHanzi. This software is very much at the Alpha stage of its life-cycle. Expect bugs. Expect nonsensical design decisions. Expect quirks.

Imagine a paper even before it is at the draft stage, when it is still just a bunch of thoughts quickly put together. Or notes taken at a conference. At this stage, OOHanzi is very much the programmatic equivalent of that paper or those notes.

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The pain of writing OO extensions

I’ve been working on some Chinese extensions for OO but at every step of the way I have to fight with obscure documentation and really strange design decisions. Here’s the latest example. Want to display an image in a dialog? We’re not talking about anything fancy here but just one single image which remains static. There’s nothing dynamic about this. So can you just put in the relative path in the dlg:src parameter which indicates where the image lives (e.g. dlg:src=”../image.jpg”)? No way! That would be way too simple and would violate the spirit of OO which is “why make things simple when you can make them complicated”. Instead you have to create two additional XML files to tell Open Office where to find the image in your extension and then at run time you have to query Open Office to find where the image really lives and load it into your dialog. Yay! The reason for this is that you do not know ahead of time where your extension is going to reside on disk. You’d think a relative path would be rock solid because it is relative to where your extension is located, but no: that does not work. You have to file extra paperwork with Open Office to declare the existence of the images.

(I searched through the dialog files bundled with Open Office to see if I could find something useful in there but what I found were paths like “file://D:/…”. Ooops, I guess even the Open Office developers are having a hard time keeping their paths portable.)

And this is just the latest in a loooooooooooooooooooong series of grievances. Here’s a new motto: “you don’t know the meaning of bondage-and-discipline programing until you’ve tried to write extensions for Open Office.” Open Office is like a bureaucrat: you can’t do anything without filing multiple forms to announce what you want to do and justify it.

References: here, here and here.

OOHanzi now packaged for Ubuntu

I’ve packaged all of OOHanzi for Ubuntu. I’m using Launchpad to host them. Follow the link for information about the sources that must be added to your /etc/apt/sources.list to use my repository. It is also possible to just use the web interface to download all 3 packages individually and install them one by one. If you add the repository to your configuration, just installing oohanzi (e.g. apt-get install oohanzi) should pull everything needed. If you install individually you need to install, in order:

  • java-unihan-lib
  • oounihan
  • oohanzi

Or you can issue a single dpkg -i command with all 3 listed. If the installation system complains that it cannot complete the installation, issue “apt-get -f install” after the installation.

People who have already downloaded the files individually and who would like to switch to the Ubuntu packages should first uninstall the old OOHanzi extensions and the unihan java library.

People who want to keep abreast of developments can subscribe to an RSS feed that contains only OOHanzi announcements.

Note for people who want to edit OOHanzi’s OOBasic code in OpenOffice’s IDE: If you use the Ubuntu packages, there is no way to edit the OOBasic code. If you want to install the extension so that you can modify the code as needed, you can install the java-unihan-lib and oounihan Ubuntu packages but you must install the .oxt for oohanzi manually as described in the previous release notes.

OOHanzi 0.2 released

Change Log

  • Added some code to make things a bit more user friendly when a JRE is not properly installed.
  • Modified the way web browsers are launched.
  • Changed the nomenclature of menus and some functions.
  • General fixes to improve stability in Windows.

Status

This documentation deals with version 0.2 of OOHanzi. This software is very much at the Alpha stage of its life-cycle. Expect bugs. Expect nonsensical design decisions. Expect quirks.

Imagine a paper even before it is at the draft stage, when it is still just a bunch of thoughts quickly put together. Or notes taken at a conference. At this stage, OOHanzi is very much the programmatic equivalent of that paper or those notes.

Continue reading