It is possible to document the hieroglyphs (and in particular the new signs) so that the palette can handle them in better ways. This is of course useful for your own new signs, but also for “standard” JSesh signs, as the signs information provided by JSesh is currently very partial. User input would be most welcome here, and above all user input by professionals. The main feature of version 2.4.15 of JSesh is the availability of a user friendly editor for adding information about signs.
The sign description editor is a separate program. To start it:
Please note that you can play and test the editor at will, as long as you save nothing. When you save, the result will be used the next time you start JSesh.
The signs are defined by the following information:
When you start the sign description editor, it automatically read the standard sign descriptions as well as your own descriptions. You can then add or change data, and save the result (simply by choosing “save” in the menu). Note that the editor will prevent you from changing the information which is stored in the system sign descriptions.
An important feature of the editor is that you can use the sign palette (from the tool menu) to select signs.
The sign info editor main windows allows one to edit information on a given sign. Selecting the sign you want to work on can be done in many ways. You can navigate with the arrows on the bottom of the window, type the sign code in the “Code” field, or simply drag and drop the sign from the palette. Once a sign appear, you can add information about it.
The “basic sign” check box is used to say that the sign should appear in the sign palette even if “show all” is not selected.
From this window, you can edit the sign transliterations, and many other things. The bottom part of the window gives access to three kinds of information: relationships between this sign and other signs, free text description of the sign, and tags.
It is possible to associate a number of transliterations with a given sign. Transliterations can be used in various contexts: to find a sign (in the palette, or typing the transliteration directly at the keyboard), or simply for informative purposes, for uncommon transliterations.
To type a new transliteration, simply press the “+” button. If you enter some text in the transliteration text field, this text will be used as the new transliteration.
If you want to suppress a transliteration of yours, select the line, and press the “minus” button. This button is gray if no line is selected, or if the selected line can't be deleted. You can then fix the “type” and “use” values.
I'm not sure whether or not the “type” is useful, and it's currently not used by JSesh. The “use” column is, on the other hand, quite important.
The “use” explain in which context this transliteration is used in the software. Note that each level of use in included in the next one. For instance, if you chose “keyboard”, the sign will be also used in “palette” and “informative” contexts.
The part of sign editor allows to describe the elements of a sign in terms of other signs. For instance, the king of Upper Egypt figure A44 wears a white crown, holds a nekhakha scepter, and wears also an uraeus. All of those, in turn, are hieroglyphs. Note that you don't need to list all parts. For instance, if a god wears the Atef crown, which in turn contains the Maat Feather, don't list the feather. It's already given as a part of the Atef (thanks to J. Hallof for this remark at the Oxford 2006 conference).
The notion of variant is a tricky one. In fact, it's not that well defined, and, worse, its useful meaning may depend on the context. There are in fact two notions. One is graphical. A graphical variant of a sign is a sign which looks like another one. Another notion is linguistic. A sign is a linguistic variant of another one if it has the same values and uses. The two notions often overlap, but not always. For instance, Y2 is both a graphical variation of Y1, and a linguistic variant thereof. On the other hand, A17A is only a graphical variant of A17. It doesn't have the same uses at all; and Z7 and G43 are linguistic variants, but not graphical variant at all.
These notions will be used by JSesh both for the sign palette (with its “variant of ” button) and for the search system. It may be usefull, while searching for words with G43, to retrieve those with Z7.
This field allows free text comments for signs. The most important use for this is to document uncommon signs, giving bibliographical references about them, and in general helping the user to select the best possible sign. If you want your sign description to be included in the distributed version of JSesh, they should have bibliographical references to back up their claim. Please also note that JSesh is a free software, but that it must respect copyright. So, this is not the place for blind copying of the sign lists of the usual grammars (it doesn't mean of course that you can't use them as sources). You can write descriptions in multiple languages, although it would be better if there were an english version for each sign.
This window allows to describe the sign in terms of various short descriptive words called “tags”. Those are available in the palette to select sub-categories of a given family. For instance, “standing” characters (obviously, the tags used here do not apply to A44). The left window displays all available tags, listing first those which are already used for this family, and then the other tags. The best way to tag signs is to look at similar signs, and see how it's done.
I'd like to draw your attention toward some very useful tags, which are a bit different. Those are “tall narrow sign”, “low broad sign”, and “long narrow sign”. Those tags are used as special families in JSesh palette.
To add a new tag to a sign, simply select the tag in the left list, and click on the left-to-right arrow. To remove a tag, use the same principle. Note that you can't remove tags which are given in the “Official” JSesh list.
This window (accessible through the tools menu) allows you to create new tag, and associate multilingual translation with them. Those translation are not currently used.
Your sign descriptions are stored in a file called signs_definition.xml, which is placed in:
(Your home directory)/Library/Preferences/JSesh on macintoshes. For instance: /Users/rosmord/Library/Preferences/JSesh/signs_definition.xml on my machine.
c:\Documents and Settings\YOUR LOGIN\JSeshData on windows (basically, JSeshData in your personnal folder). Normally, the JSeshData directory is created by JSesh, so you can search for it if you have doubts. For instance,
C:\Documents and Settings\Rosmord\JSeshData.
$HOME/.jsesh on linux.
To contribute your sign descriptions to JSesh, simply send me this file. I will decide what can go in the general JSesh distribution. There are many problems I must take into account: the software must remain general enough, correct enough, and I must avoid copyright infrigement.