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Basic ideas

  • Text is entered on the left, and a preview of the resulting dictionary entry is shown on the right.
  • An entry is named after its headword and its grammatical role: in the screenshot, the entry is called 'Time ns'
  • An entry is saved in two forms: in an XML file, in a database friendly format; and as HTML, ready to be sent to Brandi for incorporation into the Johnson’s dictionary website. The preview pane, on the right, shows the HTML form. It is updated continuously as you type into the fields in the left-hand pane.

Saved work

  • All files are held in a single folder, specified using the 'Choose Folder' button.
  • The 'Open' and 'Save' buttons open and save the entry as XML in a file named after the entry, 'Time ns.xml' in the example.
  • The 'Export' button saves the entry as HTML in a file named after the entry, 'Time ns.txt' in the example. This is the file to be sent to Brandi.
  • The 'Copy' button places the entry on the clipboard as HTML.
  • The 'New' button clears any current entry, ready for a new one to be entered.

Data fields

The easiest way to understand what a given data field does is to type something in it and see what appears in the preview pane. Note that what appears in the preview pane may be a little different to what you type. This is because the tool will do for you anything that always has to be done, partly to save you effort, and partly to ensure consistency. In the example, the headword entered is 'Time', but in the preview pane, a full stop is added after it automatically. Similarly, the source of the first quote is typed as 'Locke', but in the preview pane, it is italicised automatically.

Here is a description of each of the data fields in the upper part of the left-hand pane and their purpose:
  • preamble A prefix to the headword, e.g. 'To' before a verb
  • headword The word being defined
  • or alternative forms of the headword, e.g. Da'ffodil or Daffodi'lly or Daffodowndi'lly. These cases have two forms of presentation in the dictionary: as a textual list connected by or's, or graphically using a brace. Switch between them using the '}' toggle button in the toolbar.
  • postamble A suffix to the headword.
  • grammar The grammatical role of this entry, which must be chosen from a list of the roles used in the dictionary
  • from The derivation of the headword. Square brackets are automatically added around this in the preview.

Definition types

Definitions in Johnson's dictionary take one of three forms: a single definition supported by quotes (this covers most of the shorter entries); numbered definitions supported by a common set of quotes (the rarest form); and numbered definitions, each supported by their own quotes (as in the example shown above).

Radio buttons are provided to select the form of the definition; the lower part of the pane changes to reflect the form chosen. For single definition + quotes, the quotes are presented as a list. However, for numbered definitions, each with quotes, the definitions and quotes are presented as a tree. Note that the definition nodes in the tree can be collapsed and expanded, which is often useful for large entries.

The data fields, however, are common between the forms:
  • defn A definition.
  • quote A quote supporting a definition
  • source The source of a quote
  • notes Additional text before or after the main body of the entry

The toolbar

The buttons on the toolbar fall into three groups:
  1. Modifying selected text. The only button in this category is 'I’, which italicises the selected text by adding the required HTML markup
  2. Inserting a special character as HTML markup. Most of the buttons are of this type. The character to be inserted is shown on the button. The possibilities are: Æ, æ, Œ, œ, №, §, sp (an em space) and —.
  3. Miscellaneous. The ‘}’ button toggles between formatting modes for entries with alternative headwords. The A^ and A˅ buttons increase and decrease the font size used for the entered text and the preview.
Most of the toolbar functions are duplicated on the right click context menu for the data field text boxes. These text boxes also support the standard hotkeys, such as Ctrl+Z for undo.

An additional function that appears only on the right click context menu is 'Remove line breaks'. This is designed to help clean up text pasted in from an external source, e.g. the results of an OCR scan of a corresponding entry in a later edition of the dictionary (not so classic or canonical, indeed sometimes butchered, but amenable to OCR because it uses the modern 's'). It actually does a little more than just remove line breaks: it also standardises the spacing around semicolon and colon characters.


Last edited Jan 8, 2014 at 2:23 PM by Dijji, version 19