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Tuesday, April 19, 2005
 
Cool Tool - Typing Unicode Hebrew (without changing keyboards) ::

Our Biblical Hebrew Vocabularies Project (about which I should write a post or six...), aims to offer the possibility of Hebrew teachers collaborating to build up a collection of words that will be displayed with a rich assortment of context. However, for the collaborative aspect to work teachers must be able to enter the data. I have discovered that since my colleagues have such a wealth of different "legacy" fonts and input systems for Hebrew this is a nightmare. The project is fixed on Unicode and this enables cool effects like watching the word appear character by character to reinforce the students' understanding that Hebrew is written right-to-left. But teachers still use RabbitWorks Bible FontsTM and other proprietary systems for writing and displaying ASCII code left-to-right as if it were r-t-l Hebrew...

At last a simple free tool to enable the most computer illiterate hebraist to enter text easily, it's the Am ha-Aretz Translit tool. A simple webpage with a box, and text typed in transliteration appears as Unicode Hebrew. Neat and simple, now all I need to do is to make up a keyboard template, so people can see more easily which letter to type. The simple (Hebrew alphabetized) onscreen table they have is fine, but I suspect that for typing much text people would like to also have a printout of a QWERTY organized version.


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