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Manuel

QuickPinyin - Type pinyin with tone marks (portable)

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LinBB

Great tool! Thanks :D!

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cjbarth

This is incredible! However, for many less sophisticated users I might suggest an installer that simply copies the files to a location and sets the executable to run on start-up. There are lots of free ones:

http://www.innosetup.com/isinfo.php

http://nsis.sourceforge.net/Main_Page

http://www.advancedinstaller.com/feats-list.html

http://wixedit.sourceforge.net/

I understand why it is good to also have a portable version, but many would really benefit from an installer too. Otherwise I need to create a folder, unpack it (using 7-zip or like), then modify my start-up programs to start the program. That is a lot of work for an uneducated user who may not even know how to unRAR something (unzip comes with Windows and looks like a regular folder to most people).

On first run it would also be nice to show the keyboard shortcut for disabling-enabling the input modifier.

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Manuel

Thanks for your feedback, cjbarth.

Regarding your suggestion about the installer, it is not necessarily a bad idea and I will consider providing both a Portable version and an install-able version with the options to run QuickPinyin on startup etc. A setting to turn auto-start on/off would also be available from the system tray context menu. Most non-savvy computer users I know end up copying QuckPinyin.exe to thier desktop and just running it directly from there, rather than from C:\Program Files\QuickPinyin, so those users may welcome the option of installing the software.

Regarding the keyboard shortcut, I was considering making this user configurable, and I agree it's a good idea to let the user know that it is possible to toggle QuickPinyin via keyboard shortcut on the first run. I suspect most users toggle QuickPinyin by double-clicking the tray icon simply because they are not aware of the posibility of using a keyboard shortcut, although it's well docuemnted in the Readme.txt file, which is a pity, so I like your idea.

The reason I chose .rar over .zip is that when the contents of a zip file are unpacked, Windows knows the .exe comes from another computer and prompts the user for permission to run the file each time, which is kind of annoying. This doesn't happen with rar files, hence my choice. I don't mind providing a bit of assistance here if people need it. Using an installer may be another way to tackle this, and I will definitely look into it, but probably that'll have to wait until the summer as I am too busy at the moment.

Thansk again! :P

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Manuel

Interestingly, my teacher who's obviously not very computer literate has trouble remembering how to start QuickPinyin every lesson. She was looking in the start menu, then in C:\Program Files, etc. I have eventually put a shortcut for her in the startup folder, so yeah I think it'll be a good idea to provide an installable version as well

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Manuel

QuickPinyin v1.10 is out. Please see first post to download.

What's new:

  • Installer version released (QuickPinyin still is a portable app though).
  • Added option to automatically run QuickPinyin at computer startup.
  • Added customisable keyboard shortcuts.
  • Added welcome message (shown only on first run) for the benefit of first-time users.
  • Removed language selection option to keep things simple (sorry).

Please report any issues you may encounter. Enjoy!

Note: The installer version is the same as the portable version, i.e. both versions result in the same files being created. The only difference is that with the portable version you have to copy the files manually, whereas the installer will do that for you automatically.

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Manuel

QuickPinyin v1.11 released. Refer to first post for download link.

What's new:

  • Added: Full mixed-case support (all possible combinations are now correctly converted).
  • Added: Keyboard shortcut ignored when Keyboard Shortcut window focused.
  • Improvement: Keyboard shortcut detection code optimized.
  • Fixed: Program may toggle automatically once after setting up a new keyboard shortcut.
  • Fixed: Disable keyboard shortcut checkbox has no effect.
  • Fixed: IME compatibility does not work with apps running in Sandboxie.
  • Fixed: Check for update link not restored if no update found.
  • Misc: Code tidy-up.

The main change is full mixed-case support. The vast majority of users use lower case to type pinyin so this functionality is likely to go unnoticed, but it has been added to provide consistent behaviour for those of you who want to type strange mixed-case pinyin.

Regarding the Sandboxie "fix", I guess 99.9% of users don't know what Sandboxie is, however I highly recommend this software (a free version is available). Unlike antivirus software, Sandboxie protects you from malware without being a resource hog. It's the one app I can't live without.

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adamnhms

Awesome tool. Thanks!

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Manuel

QuickPinyin v1.12 released to fix a small bug. Refer to first post for download link.

What's new:

  • Changed: No beep sound when unchecking "Enable sounds".
  • Fixed: Typing pinyin ending in "ai4" results in "àI" (upper-case 'I').

This bug was kindly reported by a user via email. Please keep them coming!!

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Yorin

Hi,

I just started using your tool and registered to the forums tell you that it's really great! And.. to give you some suggestions. :P

The first one is... on German keyboards, there actually exists a "ü" key. I've been working with Pinyinput previously, and I was

accustomed to being able to just type "nü3" instead of "nv3" to get "nǚ". It just feels more natural to German users... maybe

you can improve QuickPinyin to being able to handle this.

The second one may just be a personal preference. I like the option to run QuickPinyin on system startup, so that the icon

will readily sit in my system tray. But it would be great to have the option to start QuickPinyin in "disabled mode". I need to type

in Pinyin every now and then, but not constantly, and I'd prefer if the program would wait for my OK to "mess" with my inputs,

without me having to disable it after every reboot.

Otherwise, I really love the tool! Great work!

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Yorin

I've got two more things I'd like to report:

- The QuickPinyin.ini file is never being created/updated unless I start QuickPinyin with the "run as administrator" option. I have Windows 7. The problem

seems to be that the program wants to write the .ini file to the "C:\Program Files\QuickPinyin" directory, which has restricted permissions. As far as I know, in Windows 7, programs in "C:\Program Files\" should normally use the corresponding directory in "C:\ProgramData\" to store data and ini files. This way, the program can store its data without administrator rights, but the program directory itself is protected against manipulation.

- QuickPinyin seems to have some difficulty with programs that use the autocompletion feature (tested in Excel and in LibreOffice Calc). To reproduce, e.g. enter hand into the first cell of the first row, then try to enter hànyǔ into the first cell of the second row. Autocompletion will suggest hand until you enter the 4, then for some reason the problem occurs and you'll end up with haàn instead of hàn.

I think that's all for now. :P

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Manuel

Thanks for you comments!

Also, I think the ideas you propose make a lot of sense. In the next release (coming up soon) I will definitely add the ability to start disabled.

Regarding using the dedicated ü key, it's easy to do, but I want to do it right, so I need to know your usage pattern as a regular user of the German keyboard. Basically, there are only four pinyin syllable that have ü in them:

lü, nü

lüe, nüe*

*Some people (including myself) consider the umlaut in lüe and nüe redundant. It's a matter of taste.

In reality, the sound of ü is found in many other pinyin syllables that don't carry an umlaut, such as ju, jue, qu, que, etc. Of course, if we wanted to be phonetically more accurate, we could choose to write these as , jüe, , qüe, etc, but we don't because for most people it means extra work (most keyboards don't have a dedicated ü key). So my question to you is this: When you type, for example, jué, would you naturally use the u key or the ü key? In other words, which one of the following methods would feel more natural to you?:

a) Typing jü1 results in

b) Typing ju1 results in

c) Typing jv1 results in

And:

d) Typing nü1 results in

e) Typing nu1 results in (typo amended)

f) Typing nv1 results in

If you have any other ideas I'd be glad to hear them!

Oh, one more thing. I shouldn't really be asking this here but I wasn't able to PM you and I am very curious: if you were already using Pinyinput (which is undeniably very similar to QuickPinyin), what made you want to search for an alternative? Or perhaps you just tested QuickPinyin out of curiosity?

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Yorin
So my question to you is this: When you type, for example, jué, would you naturally use the u key or the ü key?

I personally would use the u key. For me, that's just the way Pinyin works. I'm not sure whether it would be better to autocorrect jü1 to or whether the tool should expect correct input (which is also a way to make the user learn).

In other words, methods b), d) and f) seem natural to me, methods a), c) and e) seem optional.

If you have any other ideas I'd be glad to hear them!

Oh, one more thing. I shouldn't really be asking this here but I wasn't able to PM you

The other posting I made tonight should appear here as soon as it has been approved by an administrator. :help:P

Since this is my 5th posting to these boards, I understand that the posting restrictions will now be lifted and I might also be able to receive PMs.

if you were already using Pinyinput (which is undeniably very similar to QuickPinyin), what made you want to search for an alternative? Or perhaps you just tested QuickPinyin out of curiosity?

Pinyinput is great, but the way it buffers the input and only copies it to actual application window when you're done with it seems more "intrusive" to me than the way QuickPinyin handles it. I had to disable Pinyinput every time when I didn't actually want to type in Pinyin, to get back to a "normal" working experience. With Quickpinyin, I can just leave it enabled.

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Manuel

Automatic conversion of Ü/V to U/Ü is certainly a more relaxed policy and will not force the user to learn, but then again neither does automatic tone mark placement, which is a core feature in QuickPinyin. Furthermore, I've just checked Sougou Pinyin and it accepts both jue and jve, and so on, so if I go ahead and add this feature I will probably just cater for all three methods, then let users choose how to type pinyin according to personal preference.

Regarding autocompletion in Excel, I will look into it.

Finally, regarding the inability to write the .ini file to the program dir is such a pain! On my system I don't have this problem, but I have UAC disabled, no Windows Firewall, no Windows Defender, and a thousand tweaks in place, plus I use an admin account.

Can you check these?:

1) Is QuickPinyin able to write the .ini file if you run it from a different location e.g. the Desktop?

2) Is QuickPinyin able to automatically start on start-up when this option is set? The run on start-up settings is stored in the Registry, which may be an option.

However, for such a small app as QuickPinyin I would much rather keep all files together in one dir, instead of littering the registry and writing files all over the place.

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Yorin
I've just checked Sougou Pinyin and it accepts both jue and jve, and so on, so if I go ahead and add this feature I will probably just cater for all three methods, then let users choose how to type pinyin according to personal preference.

Please just keep in mind that the way QuickPinyin works right now, I can type non-Pinyin without the need to turn it off, since combinations of letters like jv, nv and so on usually don't exist in our languages (at least in English and German). That's a very convenient feature. If you autoreplace with ju and so on (at least if you do it for toneless syllables), this advantage will be lost.

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Manuel

Yeah, I thought about how this might interfere with normal typing, but in theory it shouldn't because replacements only take place when the syllable is followed by a number 1-4, such as jü3, therefore when you type blah nothing would be replaced.

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Manuel

The problem with autocomplete is not easy to fix because of the way hotstrings work in Autohotkey. I've just looked into this problem and I understand exactly why it happens, but essentially there is no elegant and neat way to fix this, at least not that I know of. The only fix I can think of would involve using the system clipboard and rewriting AutoHotkey... too much work for too crappy a fix: not worth it.

The problem is that Autohtokey sends backspaces to do string replacements, and it sends as many backspaces as there are characters in the hotstring (note that when you type han4 the h is not part of the hotstring, and the 4 is not actually printed on the screen). When Excel adds the autocomplete text and selects it, suddenly there is one more thing to delete, leaving AutoHotkey short of one backspace. Therefore the first character of the hotstring is not deleted (the a in an4).

Therefore QuickPinyin will work in Excel so long as autocomplete does not kick in. You can always turn off autocomplete in Excel.

With input methods such as Pinyinput this limitation does not exist because they don't rely on text replacements; instead, text is inserted directly into the target. The trade-off is that you need an intermediate step: the IME window. With QuickPinyin this would be equivalent to typing your pinyin into Notepad and then copying it into Excel.

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Manuel

Regarding the problems writing the INI file, which has been reported by two other users recently. I've just looked into it and it is related to Windows UAC (User Account Control). Unles the UAC level is set to "None", programs without administrative privileges will not be granted write access to certain directories, including C:\Program Files, hence the problem we are seeing. Because on my system I had UAC disabled, I hadn't noticed this.

Possible solutions are:

1) Install QuickPinyin to a completely different location, for example: C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming and keep all the files together

2) Install QuickPinyin to Program Files and put the .ini file in C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming

3) Install QuickPinyin to Program Files and store the configuration data in the Registry.

I like solution 1) best because it only requires modifying the installer script. I also like the idea of keeping the .ini and .exe files together since QuickPinyin supposed to be a portable app. Your thoughts are welcome though!

Edit: Sorry! I meant 1)...

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Yorin
Yeah, I thought about how this might interfere with normal typing, but in theory it shouldn't because replacements only take place when the syllable is followed by a number 1-4, such as jü3, therefore when you type blah nothing would be replaced.

Oh, ok, I didn't notice this. Then it should be all right.

Therefore QuickPinyin will work in Excel so long as autocomplete does not kick in. You can always turn off autocomplete in Excel.

With input methods such as Pinyinput this limitation does not exist because they don't rely on text replacements; instead, text is inserted directly into the target. The trade-off is that you need an intermediate step: the IME window. With QuickPinyin this would be equivalent to typing your pinyin into Notepad and then copying it into Excel.

Ok, turning off autocomplete is still more convenient than the IME window.

I like solution 2) best because it only requires modifying the installer script. I also like the idea of keeping the .ini and .exe files together since QuickPinyin supposed to be a portable app. Your thoughts are welcome though!

Maybe you can make both possible? If the installer is used, let it write an .ini file to C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming. On startup, Qickpinyin can look for that config file first, and if there is none (-> portable), then it will try to open/create the file in the local directory instead.

Maybe also display an error message if creating/updating that local file fails because of insufficient privileges.

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Manuel

I'll be sorting this out very soon, thanks for your suggestions Yorin!

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