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skishore

Inkstone: my free, open-source Chinese writing app

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Shelley

Ah ok looks I will get a better result with my new tablet which is 5.1 and my old one is 4.3.

 

Ok, poorly cat on the mend, so I will take the plunge and put it on my new tablet.

 

I think I might wait and see how importing lists go. Feeling lazy and bit timid about mucking about with it.

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skishore

Based on all of your feedback, I have a small update today (v. 0.0.7) that makes it easier to import lists.

 

First off, I've made it possible to import Pleco lists as long as they have the two characters sets, pinyin, and definition for each word. Exporting a list with those three settings that Mike mentioned (card definitions, dictionary definitions, remap if unexportable) should make that happen. Thanks for all the tips, Mike! I'll have to think more about the others.

 

  • Change ü into v, but that’s probably what you’re already aware of.
  • Delete … (ellipsis) character from the character entry, because it returns „incorrect vowel” error. Example entry: 越来越… (yuèláiyuè…).
  • Delete - (hyphen) character due to the same error. Example entry: 输-赢 (shū-yíng).

 

You're right, of course. I've made the parser accept "ü" and all punctuation.

 

Finally, I noticed that updates are slow to install (~30 seconds) because the character data is included with each one. With the next update, I'll make it so the characters are downloaded once and stored as a permanent asset. After that, all future updates will be much faster, but please bear with this one!

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Shelley

Sorry if this a silly question, does the new update contain the whole program or just updated info, in other words If I want to put this on my new tablet should I install the first version and then the update or will the update suffice?

 

I think I answered my own question as there is only one thing to download, but just want to check.

 

Once again many thanks for your efforts.

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skishore

Version 0.0.8 brings support for handwriting shortcuts. Right now, there's only a handful - 女, 了, 子, 纟, 糹, 廴, 辶, and of course any characters that include those as components. It's also much easier for me to make point-fixes to the handwriting recognition algorithm, now - for example, I made it easier to draw the 辶 radical's second stroke. Let me know if there are other shortcuts you want added or other characters that are hard to write!

 

You can see a demonstration of a couple of shortcuts here. The animation lags a bit, but that's because the video-to-gif conversion was tricky:

 

shortcuts.gif

 

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to figure out the assets situation in time for this release. That will have to wait about a month as I'm going on vacation soon.

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Shelley

Are these shortcuts a good idea? What I mean is are these accepted shortcuts or will I be learning bad habits? I know for example that it is acceptable to write 了as one or two strokes, are these the sort of shortcut you are talking about?

 

Once again thanks for your efforts and enjoy your holiday.

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skishore

Yes, 了 in 2 strokes / 子 in 3 is one of the shortcuts, and they're all similar to that. The idea is to make it easy to write components where one stroke ends where the next begins, because it's awkward to have to pick your finger off the page of that motion.

 

I would not, for instance, create a shortcut for 口, because doing the first and second stroke together requires reversing at least part of those strokes.

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furiop

Only a little note.

I'm trying to use Inkstone not for learning Hanzi or words, but for writing very short phrases.

From a 35 years old book  I tried to import  a short dialogue.

The punctuation characters (.,?! etc.) create some a problem, but modifying the original file, it works almost well.

In phrases perhaps there are too many repeated characters, but it's only a test!

 

// manuel de chinois fondamental/tome 1/sixième leçon
你作什么呢[你作什麼呢] ni3 zuo4 shen2me5 ne5 qu'est-ce que tu fais là
我写汉字呢[我寫漢字呢] wo3 xie3 han4zi4 ne5. je suis en train d'écrire des caractères chinois.
她作什么呢[她作什麼呢] ta1 zuo4 shen2me5 ne5 que fait-elle
她念生词呢[她念生詞呢] ta1 nian4 sheng1ci2 ne5. elle lit des mots nouveaux.
他们作什么呢[他們作什麼呢] ta1men5 zuo4 shen2me5 ne5 que font-ils
他们听录音呢[他們聽錄音呢] ta1men5 ting1 lu4 yin1 ne5. ils écoutent l'enregistrement (du son).

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Shelley

Okay, thanks for that. I consider it important to follow the correct stroke order.

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skishore

@furiop, when you say:

 

The punctuation characters (.,?! etc.) create some a problem, but modifying the original file, it works almost well.

 

Are you on version 0.0.7 or later? That version should allow importing pinyin with punctuation. You can see what version you're on on the main page under the title. If you're still running into problems, please let me know!

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furiop

@skishore in my opinion there are problem in chinese punctuation 。,!?、and in general in hanzi section

 

With chinese punctuation:

Import Failed

No items found for test. Three 

characters were not in the

dictionary: 。,!, and ?

 

In not-chinese punctuation (6 rows, but only 2 imported)

Imported 2 items for test. Some

characters were not in the

dictionaty: : !, ,, . and 1 other

 

Without punctuation in Hanzi section no problems (6 rows), all works well.

No more problems if punctuation is present in pinyin or translation section.

No more problems if Pinyin has Capital letters

 

The file was

// Manuel de Chinois Fondamental/Tome 1/Deuxième leçon
你好![你好!] Ni3 hao3 ! Bonjour !
你好![你好!] Ni3 hao3 ! Bonjour !
// Manuel de Chinois Fondamental/Tome 1/Troisième leçon
你好![你好!] Ni3 hao3 ! Bonjour !
你们好![你們好!] Ni3men5 hao3 ! Bonjour ! (réponse d'une personne à plusieurs personnes)
忙吗?[忙嗎?] Mang2 ma5 ? Ětes-vous occupé ?
很忙。[很忙。] Hen3 mang2. Oui, très occupé.

Note: TABS -->  were between Hanzi S [Hanzi T] --> Pinyin --> Translation

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Hofmann

I'd recommend keeping "shortcuts" limited to strokes that begin where the previous stroke ended. This includes the 丨 before 女 in 婁. Although I have seen 女 written in the way you've shown in post #26, it's an unnecessary mismatch between 女 alone and 女 on the left, and will create problems for you when you try to speed up your writing.

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furiop

Dear Skishore,

Inkstone works well in Android emulators for Windows (if Google Play is present for Crosswalk downloading). Here is a picture using Andy emulator (Droid4x is the same).

In my Lenovo Flex15  I can use also the touchscreen!

 

A little question: is it possible to run it in Windows using some library or similar.

 

Thak you very much for your work, that's excellent!

Furio

 

inkstoneemulator.jpg

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furiop

Dear Skishore,

> That will have to wait about a month as I'm going on vacation soon.

I hope you enjoyed vacation!

I continued using your app, and I recommend the app to friends...

Furio

---

P.S. Oh! In inkstone site the new version 0.1.0 was delivered! Thank you very much!

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skishore

Hi everyone,

 

I just have a small update after catching up with work post vacation. It includes:

  • [email protected]'s suggestion to only allow the 女 shortcut when the character is on the left, as in . I like the idea of more generally supporting shortcuts whenever one stroke ends where another begins, but I also received a suggestion about supporting cursive inputs more generally (for example: the four "fire" dots in one motion), which I need to think about a bit. Does anyone know of a public dataset that includes these cursive forms?
  • A suggestion from a while back, from [email protected], of making the size of the writing canvas configurable. It's now an option.
  • When the app is first updated, a one-time download of all the character data (which was previously included separately in each update). It'll make future updates much faster and it should also make the app perform a bit better, as the data will be stored in an asset directory as opposed to being included in the APK itself.

With these updates, I felt the app was in a good enough state to sell as a one-time purchase on Google Play. The APK is still available for free on my project page, which I'll continue to update with each new version. If I get a decent amount of usage on Google Play, then I would use that revenue to work on an iOS version.

 

The next two big improvements that I see that I could make here are:

  • Desktop / browser support - the basic code of the app could stay the same, but I think the UI could use a significant overhaul for those platforms.
  • Flashcards for word -> definition, word -> pinyin, and word -> tone - those are important memory skills that I see myself doing poorly in in my own study!

What else would you all like to see added?

 

In addition to working on this app, I've been thinking about a very different approach to language learning. It would be much more "game-y" than this app, and it would also focus more on the actual language-learning aspects instead of on memorization. That's something I'd like to discuss with people who are interested, but this thread is not the right place - is there an off-topic forum where those kinds of discussions happen?

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Shelley

I see no reason why you can't start a new thread on the forums to discuss your ideas. Its not so far off topic that it would be wrong, it is after all about language learning and that is what this forum is about, mainly chinese (in all its forms)

 

There is a non chinese language forum, if you look in forums at the top of the page it is near the bottom.

 

Thanks for the updates, and your efforts.

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imron
is there an off-topic forum where those kinds of discussions happen?

Just start a new thread in the Resources for Studying Chinese sub-forum, that's probably the best place for a discussion on a resource that you'd like to build.

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furiop

What else would you all like to see added?

 

- The possibility of choosing a subset of characters from a file, marking (for example with a star) the character I wish study 

- The possibility of retrying the same character (wrong or correct) BEFORE changing character.

 

Thank you anymore for your great work!

 

Furio P.

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