Asian Input Method Technology for Non-Asian Languages

New Roman Input Method

Thanks to gugod’s help. We created a new input method module under OpenVanilla , a input method framework for Traditional Chinese but not for Chinese only. This module calls “New Roman Input Method” (新英數輸入法). In such a input method module we demonstrated some ideas which came to our minds when developing the OpenVanilla framework, that is: input method technology should not be limited to input Asian characters merely, but there might be more more possibilities and potentials need to be explored.

When you’re typing English letters in any application softwares with this “New Roman Input Method”, just press the Tab key, this input method module will display all possible words in a list, then, press any numeric key, it will send the word corresponding to this number to your application. The arrow keys are used to flip pages, and pressing Tab key again is to select the next candidate directly.

In other words, you can use the Auto-complete function anywhere. It may be useless for native English speakers, however, for non-native speakers who often forget how to spell some words, such as me, I think it’s quite useful, it gives hints just like you can use Google Suggest anywhere.

Apple computer did something alike. Apple made similar Auto-complete function within text objects in it’s very last Operating System, Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. You can obtain a candidates list by pressing option and escape key simultaneously in any Carbon applications such, Safari, iCal and so on. You know, not every OSX applications are using Cocoa frameworks, there are still many applications such products of Microsoft and Adobe use Carbon, and some use Java, you can not enjoy the advantage of Cocoa with them. But, in all these softwares, input methods are available.

Yes. You may notice that, input methods are the most common and basic text service, they are plugins on strata of the Operating Systems but not on the level of application softwares. Therefore, any advanced needs for text could be realized with input methods but not only for Asian languages.

We used a sqlite3 database as a dictinary, there has been built-in sqlite3 support within Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, but previous versions support not, you need to install sqlite3 via darwinports or fink while using previous versions. And we are wondering if we should release binary version of this module, and howw to release it. The source code is available in the repository of the OpenVanilla project hosted in the OpenFoundry:

2 thoughts on “Asian Input Method Technology for Non-Asian Languages

  1. Thanks for your informartion. I’ve tried the Mac OS X version, unlike Windows and Mac OS 9 version, the Mac OS X version of Spell Catcher X is an input method indeed. There is an input method system component which is monitoring keyboard events and send them to a text input server, and it handles with character conversions and spell checking. The Mac OS X version is similar to to our idea, while Windows and Mac OS 9 versions are stand-alone monotoring applications.

    Spell Catcher is excellent, however, our most important idea is that most parts of input methods such as candidate list could be shared and re-used by all modules. I consider developers of Rainmaker Inc. might spent much time on such works, they must care about not only dictionaries and algorithms but also user interface, and an input method framework could let all such works becoming easy.

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