Kanji Sieve v0.4 released
Another month another set of improvements to Kanji Sieve.
In this release I concentrated on getting data in and out of the program.
- It is possible to import records from a previous version.
- As I strongly believe that the data belongs to the user it can all be exported in a variety of formats to be used elsewhere.
- You can use a built-in mini browser to search for texts at your favourite sites.
- Plain text and audio can be imported.
- Chuta can now be viewed online on PCs and Macs
- There is a choice of 7 online dictionaries to search for word meanings
- Individual dictionary lookups are automated
- The layout is now more flexible
- There is a full screen mode for reading
- There is an online help system (in progress)
- The interface colour has been toned down
- Interface and navigation improvements
I was hesitant about using Chuta online display. It was the only way at the moment to implement it for the PC. Chuta only stores a search for a limited time and while chuta is fast it does take a while to compile the custom page. I would prefer to work with cached data. What I do in the online display is check to see if the remote cache has expired and if it has fetch it again. It’s not ideal when loading the Chuta pane in the program but it is the best for now. I also had to sacrifice some screen real estate to get feedback that the program hadn’t frozen. After the first time your own cache should speed loading. Mac users can still work with the cached data by setting a preference.
There are now several dictionary urls to chose from. I think jisho.org (denshi jisho) in a mobile phone version or risukun are the fastest and cleanest. Jim Breen’s wwwjdic is comprehensive but you need to pare down the interface via the preferences to avoid information overload and clutter. The Japanese dictionaries from Wordbank, Yahoo, Goo and ALC all have ads to a varying degree. ALC is the worst, which makes for a very cluttered window without expanding it.
As I like to automate where I can you can submit a search just by clicking a button in the wordlist. You don’t have to type or copy and paste if you don’t want to. Owing to the imprecision of looking up words automatically you have to chose the correct version from the results and paste that into your wordlist yourself.
There is a mini-browser to help with getting text into the program. I dislike jumping from program to program so I wanted something “right there”. However it’s not as capable as a proper browser like Safari or Firefox (and on the PC you’re stuck with the dreadful Internet Explorer engine). And there is no ad filtering. One way around this is to use Evernote and your usual browser to collect interesting text then access your Evernote account from with Kanji Sieve. ( note: Kanji Sieve does not store or access any passwords, history etc. This is all handled by your computers browser software and stored elsewhere on your system. (Safari on the Mac, IE on Windows) Apart from accessing the help files through a browser, the software does not in any way call home. The only data going out are submissions to chuta.jp and dictionary sites for word lookups.)
I am happier with the PC version this time around. Overall I really think this is becoming a usable and useful tool.
The online help is a work in progress. I will be writing it over the next month or so. After that it will be on to version 0.5 to release sometime in November.
bug release v0.4.1 released 3 Oct