Getting Started

This page contains explicit technological jargon that some people may find confusing and flummoxing. The instructions contained are in no way meant to upset or cause distress to anyone. We are sorry if this impression comes across. If you get a feeling of nausea or sickness while reading these pages, or feel a growing amount of tension when trying to follow the instructions given, please do stop at once and get the assistance of a computer-savvy person.

Before We Start - A Word of Warning

This is an early access release. This means that this is not 'production level' software. It may still contain many bugs. This release is provided here for all of you who are adventurous enough to try out beta release software, and for me to get feedback about what to fix and what to improve. I will try to directly reply to any feedback I get, but I cannot promise this. I will however make this info available in an FAQ. If you want to report bugs, please go to the bug database.

I will not be responsible for lost data or any other disaster. While I am quite confident that Babbletower itself is not likely to directly cause loss of data or any other harm, I can not be sure of that. In particular, I can not say anything about the Java runtimes you may use Babbletower with. See the known problems section on this topic. If you create large vocabulary lists in Babbletower, do frequent backups of your wordbox files!

This software also does not come with any installer. Installation and setup goes beyond double-clicking a setup icon and answering a few dialogs. In addition to this software, you will also have to install a Java runtime on your device. If you're not really comfortable with manually installing software, I recommend you to get the help of someone who is. After all, you don't want to waste nerves and time.


This section explains the steps for installing Babbletower. Even if you're only intending to use Babbletower on a PDA, you will also need to install it on a desktop or notebook computer. This is necessary to create index files for your dictionaries.

  1. If the device on which you want to use Babbletower does not have a Java runtime installed, you will need to install one first.
  2. Create a directory for Babbletower and extract the contents of the archive file into it.
  3. Add your dictionaries to Babbletower.
  4. Optional: Create a properties file with default settings for Babbletower.

Starting Babbletower

How you start Babbletower depends on how Java programs are invoked in the particular Java runtime that you are using. In general, when starting a Java program, two pieces of information have to be passed to the Java runtime:

Check with the documentation for your Java runtime on how to invoke it and how to set classpath and main class. It is also recommended to create a shortcut to invoke Babbletower. See the documentation of your device on how to do that. In this documentation, examples for invoking Babbletower and its tools are given as used with Sun Microsystems' Java runtimes.

To start Babbletower, type:

java -classpath babbletower.jar Babbletower

The Kyocera PocketCosmo PDA uses its own application framework. To let Babbletower integrate with this framework, a separate main class has to be used - BabbletowerCosmo

Startup Parameters

Babbletower recognizes a few startup parameters. These are:

Out of Memory Problems

Java runtimes usually have a setting that determines the maximum amount of memory that applications may use, called the maximum heap size. The default value for this limit differs considerably from runtime to runtime. If this default limit is rather low, you may get an out of memory error when trying to start Babbletower. In this case you have to raise the max. heap size. How you do this depends on the runtime you use. Usually it can be set via a parameter when starting the Java runtime. In general, Babbletower should be content with 8MB max. heap size.

Hint: If you don't use the custom input methods that come pre-installed with Babbletower, delete them from the ime directory. This may save some program memory.

Known Problems

Today's Java runtimes on desktop-like machines are very stable systems. So far, no problems have been observed running Babbletower on various Windows machines using Sun Microsystems' Java runtimes. Runtimes for PDAs, however, don't seem to be that mature yet. On a PDA there are quite different constraints, for example, the instant on/off feature of these devices. Following a list of problems that have been observed so far. For a more detailed list of known problems and bugs on various runtimes, and to report bugs and problems, go to the bug database.

Back to top of manual