Babbletower is certainly not the first dictionary reader project, but a few words about its history
should explain why yet another dictionary reader. Things started when some while back I
an excellent Japanese-German dictionary, compiled and published by Ulrich Apel. The wish
to use this dictionary on a PDA, along with dictionaries from the
Monash site I was
already using came up very quickly.
Looking around I could find quite a few dictionary readers. However, evaluating them showed
quickly that all of them had shortcomings I wasn't willing to accept. The most important ones
The reader was meant for a particular dictionary file, and depended on
that file's format.
If multiple dictionaries could be used, switching between them was cumbersome,
or they could not easily be searched simultaneously.
The reader had problems with character encodings.
The dictionary I mentioned above contains Japanese characters, along with German
Umlaute. This usually led to a situation where the Umlaute turn into Japanese
characters, which can be quite dizzying in the middle of a German word, and is in
the era of Unicode not really acceptable. Transcoding the Umlaute in the original
dictionary file was one solution. The results were better, but not satisfying, at least
not for my eyes.
The output format left a lot to be desired or was not appropriate for use on a PDA.
No integrated support for vocabulary study.
Looking up a word in a dictionary is at least for me an act of overcoming my laziness.
Jotting the word I've just looked up down into some vocabulary notebook is out of
the question. A functionality that allows me to easily copy an entry from the search
results into a vocabulary list was a definite necessity.
Realizing that I wouldn't really be happy with any of the dictionary readers I had found,
I set out to 'roll my own'. The result is the software introduced here. Although Babbletower
was initially developed for use with the Japanese dictionaries I mentioned above, it
is a generic dictionary reader that is not limited to working with Japanese dictionary data.
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