[Kde-accessibility] Gnome-braille.

Bill Haneman Bill.Haneman at Sun.COM
Thu Oct 19 01:04:07 CEST 2006

Samuel Thibault wrote:
> As discussed a few months ago, gnome-braille depends on
> - libgobject for contraction/language module management
> - libglib for tricky stuff like unicode handling.
I don't have any objection to reworking this to remove
GObject, but it makes no sense to do that without removing the glib 
dependency as well.  The problem with removing glib is that 
gnome-braille needs very sophisticated unicode support, which is much 
harder to come by that one would think.

If we have a fully desktop-agnostic unicode library alternative then I'd 
be happy to work on swapping out glib/gobject.  The other problem though 
is that gnome-braille is very modular/object-oriented and trying to do 
nice lifecycle management in C without something like GObject is not 
much fun.

So what does gnome-braille do that BriAPI and libbraille don't already 
do?  Well, it provides an extremely general pluggable/chainable 
conversion API (so that very complex braille conversions can be done, 
like all sorts of Grade2 and Asian language braille), 
multi-lang/multi-locale braille, optional braille context switching 
markers, and some other localization stuff. Also, it provides a 
bidirectional mapping between braille cell offsets and character/glyph 
offsets throughout, so you always know what braille cell corresponds to 
which character offset in the input string.  As far as I know, these are 
things that the other APIs either don't offer or have difficulty with.

gnome-braille also supports several sorts of hardware and software 
events, and both hardware and software "regions" within a braille display.

This is all stuff that probably isn't urgent for our English braille 
users _yet_, but which I think will become increasingly important as we 
get the more fundamental platform stuff working well.  While I wrote 
gnome-braille as a testbed initially, it'd be very nice if we could 
morph it into something everybody could make use of.  It already has 
support for about 40 languages including some exotic stuff like 
Devanagari/Hindi and Kanji Japanese braille; it also has a simple Grade2 
English engine.

Best regards,

> Else it can be used in any application, the output being done either via
> BrlAPI or libbraille (or a gtk fake braille device)
> Samuel
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