Phonetic character input for WordPress

[ This is the original WordPress page that I had put up to accompany this post. You’ll find the new page, with information about the latest version of David Romano’s plugin, here. ]

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From the readme.txt file, which includes installation instructions and other useful info (links added):

This is a plugin that allows you to insert IPA symbols into the text area when using WordPress (2.0.1). It was put together by David Romano. (Not too ugly of a hack, but by no means drool-worthy.) Part of the code is taken from Alex King, and it is marked as such. The general idea came from Charwrite, but the implementation is different. Thanks to Eric Bakovic for getting me interested in doing something like this: hopefully it’s useful for others as well.

Many, many thanks are due to David for spending time on the development of this useful software! Below is some more non-technical information about it (written by me).
The IPA Symbol Plugin consists of two tools:

  1. A plugin for TinyMCE, the default editor for WordPress 2.0 posts. This allows authors to easily insert phonetic symbols when writing/editing a post.
  2. A javascript tool that works very similarly to Charwrite. This one allows anyone to easily insert phonetic symbols when commenting on a post.
  • Note that if you haven’t yet upgraded to WordPress 2.0 or otherwise don’t use TinyMCE, there are some instructions in the readme.txt file for getting the tool in (2) to also work with other “non-rich” WordPress editors for writing/editing posts.

We’re announcing this software here both for the benefit of phonoloblog authors/commenters and for those readers who happen to use WordPress (or TinyMCE in general, in the case of (1)). Both tools work very well on the platform and browser David and I both happen to use (Mac OS X, Firefox), but we haven’t tested it on anything else. (We do know that the TinyMCE plugin won’t work with the Safari browser, at least in part because TinyMCE won’t work with Safari anyway.) If you try the tools on some other platform/browser, please leave a comment below letting us know how it works or doesn’t work. (You can also write directly to David.)

The two tools function very similarly: calling up either tool gets you a little pop-up window with phonetic characters, and clicking on a character inserts that character in your post or comment. There are several specific differences, however, which may or may not be addressed in future development of the tools (by David or anyone else who may wish to pick up where he left off — if you do so, please let David know).

For example, calling up the plugin in (1) gives you all of the available phonetic symbols in the pop-up window, while calling up the tool in (2) can either give you the set of all symbols or a set of symbols that are typographically similar to the character appearing to the left of your cursor (like Charwrite does).

For both tools, all available phonetic symbols are called up by pressing ctrl-/ (or alt-/ on Windows). The typographically-similar-symbol tool in the case of (2) is called up by pressing ctrl-. (or alt-.). Here’s what the all-symbols pop-up window looks like (on my Mac, using Firefox):

Another way to call up the plugin in (1) (as an author writing a post, using TinyMCE) is to click on a button that looks like this: . It should appear on the right-hand end of the TinyMCE text-formatting toolbar that appears above the text area and below the page title. It looks something like this:

If you’re a phonoloblog author and don’t see this TinyMCE toolbar, you’re probably using a browser that TinyMCE doesn’t work with. No problem: you’ll be using the tool in (2), which you can access with ctrl-/ or ctrl-. (or alt-/ or alt-., on Windows).

[ Update: I have no idea how this happened, but I’m glad it did. After announcing this plugin, I noticed a few new incoming links to phonoloblog. One of them led me to a pingback on this post by Mark Liberman back when he announced Charwrite in August 2004 (something I had forgotten, now corrected in the post). The pingback is to this August 2004 post on Chris Waigl’s blog serendipity, which links directly to this clickable-chart implementation of Charwrite. A comment on that serendipity post also leads to the Phonemic Typewriter, which is more limited but still pretty good for many purposes. ]

2 thoughts on “Phonetic character input for WordPress

  1. Pingback: Instalación de la funcionalidad FONOLOBLOG (inserción de caracteres fonéticos) : Blogs de la Universitat de València

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