Archive for May, 2006

Updates, donations and the future

May 29, 2006

Hi, today I have three things to talk about.

Updates
Let’s start with the updates I just rolled out. First of all the general dictionary (EDICT) and the names dictionary (ENAMDICT) were updated to their latest versions. I have also fixed some small interface issues and did some general code optimizing under the hood, all hopefully for a snappier experience.

I have also added two great features. The first one has been requested (hi Paul) and is also something that I have wanted to change for quite a while. It is how the word and sentence dictionaries search for English words. Previously it would match entire substrings, so searching for smaller words was near impossible. Now I have changed it so it matched entire words instead, which is pretty much always what you want.

The second, smaller, feature is that on a kanji details page the on and kun readings are linked to a word search for that kanji and that reading. It is a great way to easily find out what specific kun readings mean. This has one drawback when you search for short readings, it might find more than you want. For example, a search for “生 しょう” will match 小学生 where the shou is for the 小 while 生 is sei. Not that big of a problem though – just thought you should know.

Donations
I have added a PayPal donations-button to the about page that you can use to donate money towards the development of Denshi Jisho. As much as I enjoy working on the site and making it better I find that between getting a decent education and earning money I have less and less time to work on it. That is not saying that if no one donates the project will die. Far from it. This is a passion and I have lots of ideas for new features and enhancements. But all donations, no matter how big or small, are greatly appreciated.

Future features
Since several of you have sent in feedback (keep it coming!) about how you want Denshi Jisho to work and what features I should add I wanted to take a few moments to talk a bit about what I am planning on adding.

Here are a few in no particular order:

  • I want to switch from EDICT to the more versatile JMDict database. This will allow searches in French, German and Russian along with the English that is today.
  • Addition of more specialised dictionaries.
  • Adding a cell phone optimised version of the site. Both for Western and Japanese cell phones.
  • Better keyboard navigation.
  • Allow limiting to stroke count on the kanji radical search.
  • A user login. This login will let you set preferences such as the number of search hits returned, romaji output (no flames please!) and wheter external links should open in a new window or not (hi Clay).
  • Stroke order diagrams from Jim Rose’s Kanji Café.

I am also planning two really big features that I don’t want to spoil by revealing two much, especially since I don’t yet know if I have the time to make them. But one builds on the social strengths of the Internet, and the other connects with the real world.

Lastly, keep the feedback coming so I know what to prioritize!

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Outage

May 21, 2006

The server tripped and fell earlier today. Hopefully it was just a one-time thing. Denshi Jisho is hosted on a friend’s server that we also run a few other sites on, so 100% uptime isn’t guaranteed.

I’ll also take this opportunity to explain the gateway error you might encounter if you surf in at 06:00 European Central Time; it’s when we restart the web server. Just come back a minute later and everything should be working again. Maybe I should start looking for a properly hosted solution now that the site has started seeing more visitors. Thanks for all the links!

Finals are this week. Then I will return to randomly poking at the Denshi Jisho source.