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rou1

Crisp - a new approach for reading Chinese online

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rou1

Hi Everyone,

I recently published a new Chrome Extension, built for making the Chinese Web more simple and accessible for Chinese learners of all ages and levels.

 

Basically, the app analyzes Chinese web pages, identifies words, and colours each character according to its tones with one push of a button. It also allows the user to adjust the margin between words and view extra details about the page's content (such as word frequency, etc). It supports both Traditional and Simplified Chinese, and works fantastic on most websites, as well as Google Docs.

 

The extension is still in it's first days, so any feedback (good or bad) and suggestions for new features will be of great help for the following versions.

 

The extension can be found here: 

https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/crisp/mojdolellgcpaljamlhkagiijmmgoobe

 

Enjoy :)

 

P.S.

Some print-screens of the extension at work (click to enlarge):

post-68961-0-33140500-1484061439_thumb.png post-68961-0-14129500-1484061447_thumb.png post-68961-0-45610000-1484061458_thumb.png post-68961-0-27546300-1484061466_thumb.png

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Yongjiang

Wow, this is amazing!

为你点赞!

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rou1

Thank you very much :) There's still a lot of work to be done, but with time I'm sure this could be a great tool for everyone.

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Apollys

Dude!  Have you come to answer my prayers? (http://www.chinese-forums.com/index.php?/topic/53228-making-chinese-characters-look-good-onscreen/)

Let's see if this can help me out.

 

Darn, looks like not.  How easy would it be for you to add a setting to scale the font size for all Chinese characters (clearly you've already got all the code to scan for characters and edit their formatting)?  I think that would help so many people and help make your extension popular!

 

Couple more notes: I think the bold-on-mouseover is distracting and I'm probably not the only one who would like to be able to disable that.  Also the toggle on/off button doesn't seem to be functioning correctly.

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rou1

Thanks for your elaborated reply, It's really helpful. about the font size - well, it's really not an issue and can be easily done. My main concern was that changing the font-size might really affect the page's structure, so I didn't want to add this feature until I'll make some adjustments to the entire behaviour. But, given your suggestion, I'll try doing a quick-and-dirty update tomorrow and add this feature.

 

About the bold-on-mouseover - I admit I like it, but I'll definitely add an option in the settings to disable it.

 

About toggling the word margin - Can you please send me a print-screen of the exact way you're trying to toggle it? once you color the page, you shouldn't have any problems there. That being said, I intend to improve that bit in the following versions, including adding keyboard support and fixing the entire toybox so it won't be affected by the page's general appearance.

 

Thanks again for the input. I'll let you know once the changes are up. Hopefully tomorrow :)

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Apollys

Hey.  What I meant by the toggling comment was that I had presumed I could toggle the extension on/off for the current page by clicking the extension's icon in the top right of my browser window (color logo=on, greyscale=off).  Maybe this isn't what you intended.  If not, I might suggest adding it, because even if you do a great job making your extension really robust, you're never quite sure when it might mess something up on a given page (for example, when I turn on the extension I can't type a reply into this box anymore).

 

Oh and one other thing on the "to do eventually" list, if you could also add a check box to disable the coloring feature, I would like that.  Now I know the whole point of this extension for you IS the coloring, which is why I said "to do eventually," but I see this developing into something more than that - an extension that everyone can use to just make reading Chinese easier in a vast array of ways.  (If you wanted to keep taking it further, you could do things like font and style adjustments for characters, extra-large popup version of character on mouseover, etc).

 

I think a general-purpose "Chinese character customizability" extension was a glaringly missing extension that so many people could benefit from. In fact, I was about to start Googling how to write a Chrome extension myself when you came along and posted this.

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rou1

Now I understand what you meant :) In the future, the entire behaviour of the browser-icon and the analysis process should be replaced with something a bit more natural, and then you'll definitely be able to toggle the changes on and off. In the mean time, for the beta phase, I left it as is, so I could see what people have to say about the current behaviour and what suggestions they might have.

 

About the coloring part - It plan to implement this change in the next sprint. For now you can easily work around it by changing all the colors to black in the settings page. Not ideal, but something :)

 

I do share your vision about the customisability of Chinese websites, and hopefully soon this will be possible. Actually, once I'll find a moment to upload the project to github, everyone will be able to upload features of their own.

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Apollys

Yeah, that is what I did (making everything black), it's fine for now, though it's really noticeable that my signature is black instead of the grey it should be.  Good luck with the project!

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rou1

so I'm happy to announce that following our discussion I made some changes and updated the extension with the following features:

  • Bold 'On-Hover' can now be disabled via the Options page.
  • Colouring can also be globally disabled via the Options page.
  • Colouring can now be dynamically disabled for a single tab by right-clicking the browser-icon and pressing 'Toggle Colors'.
  • Font Size can be dynamically adjusted from the toy-box.

Hopefully this will help improving the user experience, and I'm open for more ideas :)

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chinesemadrush

This looks interesting! Certainly very useful when used with a popup dictionary. Haven't fully tested it yet. But trying it on Baidu news website seems to give some issues. Have attached screenshots.Left screenshot (without Crisp). Right screenshot (with Crisp). Thank you.

Crisp.jpg

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rou1

yap, that's on me being stupid. A change I added yesterday caused some pages to break.

I uploaded a new version and hopefully in an hour it will be updated for everyone (v1.0.0.4).

 

Thanks for the heads up :)

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chinesemadrush

Thank you would check it out later.

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Apollys

Am I the only one for whom this breaks the forums?  If I turn it on I can't type in the reply box.

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rou1

be sure you're not the only one ;) unfortunately, iframe and JS behaviour, and HTML in general, don't always have a 'one size fits all' solution, and sometimes pages break when you introduce new elements.

 

It's possible, in theory, to re-create each page in a sandbox layer, that lets you read the text without messing with the original page's structure, but for me, this will greatly damage the experience of just reading a page. BTW, That's why I added the 'Send text to toybox' option, which lets you read things in a special environment, that does not affect other parts of the page (just select the desired text and right-click on it).

 

Anywho, I'm gradually finding new ways to avoid most issues, but this process takes time.

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Apollys

No problem, I'm a programmer too, I understand :)  I just wanted to make sure I wasn't using it wrong.

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rou1

thanks for the understanding. And be sure to keep telling me about any bug you may stumble upon.

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Apollys

In the options, the example text isn't showing colors for me anymore (I reset to default so it should be colored, the disable colors option is definitely not checked).  Not sure if that happened for other people too...

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rou1

fixed it earlier today. your extension probably wasn't updated yet to v1.0.0.6.

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Apollys

Just checked and it works now.  Looks like the updates may take some time to roll out.  Thanks!

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